Family History of Liver Cancer, HBV/HCV Infection Increase Risk of HCC

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(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – A combination of family history of liver cancer and hepatitis B/C serum markers increases an individual's risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), according to a multinational group of European researchers. The study, entitled “Family History of Liver Cancer and Hepatocellular Carcinoma,” will be published in the May issue of Hepatology, but is currently available online.

In eastern Asiatic countries, where hepatitis B infection is common, there is familial clustering of HCC. “Little is known about the relationship between family history of liver cancer and HCC in Western populations,” the investigators noted. The investigators sought to understand the relationships between familial clustering of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), family history of liver cancer and the incidence of hepatitis.

The study design: case-control study, conducted in Italy, involving 229 HCC cases and 431 hospital controls. A family history score (FHscore) was used to summarize the family history data. Age, sex, study center, education, tobacco smoking, alcohol drinking, hepatitis B surface antigen, and/or anti–hepatitis C virus positivity, were among the factors controlled for in the regression analysis.

“After adjustment for chronic infection with hepatitis B/C viruses, family history of liver cancer was associated with HCC risk, when using both the binary indicator (Odds Ration [OR], 2.38; 95% CI, 1.01–5.58) and the FHscore, with increasing ORs for successive score categories,” the investigators reported.  “Compared to subjects without family history and no chronic infection with hepatitis B/C viruses, the OR for those exposed to both risk factors was 72.48 (95% CI, 21.92–239.73).”

The investigators concluded: “A family history of liver cancer increases HCC risk, independently of hepatitis. The combination of family history of liver cancer and hepatitis B/C serum markers is associated with an over 70-fold elevated HCC risk.”


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