Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Please switch auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.
Veterans Crisis Line Badge

Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs


VA launches largest ever liver cancer screening study

Dec. 8, 2022, 08:00:00 AM

Printable Version

VA launches largest ever liver cancer screening study

WASHINGTON — In 2023, the Department of Veterans Affairs will embark on a study to determine the most effective screening technique for liver cancer, a deadly cancer that can be cured if caught early. This is the largest clinical trial in history related to liver cancer screening. 

The study will determine whether detecting liver cancer earlier with abbreviated MRI can make a difference for patients’ risk of death. Better known as PREMIUM — PREventing Liver Cancer Mortality through Imaging with Ultrasound vs. MRI — the trial’s objective is to determine whether screening with abbreviated magnetic resonance imaging is better than ultrasound, the current standard of care in reducing liver cancer deaths in Veterans.

“This type of large, multicenter trial could only be conducted in VA ? the largest integrated health care system in the country,” said Assistant Under Secretary of Health for Discovery, Education and Affiliate Networks Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. “VA has a high prevalence of patients with advanced liver disease who could benefit from screening for liver cancer. The study has the potential to change clinical practice for tens of thousands of Veterans and non-Veterans alike, and it could answer key questions about liver cancer screening that have been debated for more than three decades.”

This effort is a part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Cancer Moonshot to care for those with cancer and end cancer as we know it. Liver cancer is the sixth leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S. The PREMIUM trial will recruit 4,700 Veterans with cirrhosis (liver scarring caused by several different conditions) from 47 VA medical centers.

VA’s Veterans Health Administration is the largest health care provider in the U.S. for patients with cirrhosis, a leading risk factor for liver cancer. Enrollment will begin in 2023 and follow participants over an 8-year period. This is the first clinical trial to compare the two screening methods (ultrasound and MRI) for effect on patient death.

Ultrasound has long been the standard of care for liver cancer screening. However, its quality can vary significantly depending on the person doing the procedure and the body type of the patient. MRI is the gold standard for detecting liver cancer once a mass is detected on ultrasound. Abbreviated MRI, a much shorter procedure than standard MRI, has shown promise in detecting liver cancer at early stages.

The trial is led by co-chairs Dr. George Ioannou of the VA Puget Sound Healthcare System and Dr. Tamar Taddei of the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, sponsored by the VA Cooperative Studies Program and coordinated by the West Haven CSP Coordinating Center.

For more information, visit the PREMIUM clinical trial site.


Disclaimer of Hyperlinks

The appearance of external hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Veterans Affairs of the linked web sites, or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized VA activities, the Department does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. All links are provided with the intent of meeting the mission of the Department and the VA website. Please let us know about existing external links which you believe are inappropriate and about specific additional external links which you believe ought to be included by emailing

People wishing to receive e-mail from VA with the latest news releases and updated fact sheets can subscribe to the
VA Office of Public Affairs Distribution List.

Back to News Releases Index

Search VA News Releases