Basal T4, T3, TSH, prolactin and growth hormone levels were determined in several groups: patients with postnecrotic cirrhosis with hepatocellular carcinoma (n = 14); patients with postnecrotic cirrhosis but without hepatocellular carcinoma (n = 26); cholangiolar carcinoma (n = 9); and normal controls age-matched to within 5 yr of the liver disease subjects studied. In addition, TRH stimulation (400 micrograms TRH) was performed; TSH, prolactin and growth hormone responses over a 180-min time interval were evaluated for each subject. The responses observed varied between liver disease groups. The presence or absence of hepatocellular carcinoma was found to determine, at least in part, the type of response observed. Similarly, the presence or absence of hepatic encephalopathy determined, and/or reflected, at least in part, the type of response observed. Finally, for purposes of continuity, basal and TRH-stimulated levels of TSH, prolactin, growth hormone, T4 and T3 are compared in 3 settings of cirrhosis: alcoholic, nonalcoholic postnecrotic cirrhosis, and postnecrotic cirrhosis with hepatocellular carcinoma.