A new retrospective study out of Asia was not able to confirm an association between hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and risk for extrahepatic malignancies.

According to the study, several studies have shown that HCV may infect organs and tissue outside of the liver, and has been implicated in extrahepatic malignancies such as non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), cholangiocarcinoma, pancreatic cancer, and oral carcinomas.

In this study, researchers looked at HCV infection among 17,925 in-patients diagnosed with lymphoma, breast, thyroid, kidney, or pancreatic cancer and among 16,850 control in-patients with no malignancies from The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University in China from 2008 to 2016.

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Eighty-six patients in the research group were positive for HCV and 103 cases in the control group.

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The research group of patients was also compared with a group of patients from the 2006 National Hepatitis C sero-survey in China.

The researchers reported no associations between extrahepatic malignancies and HCV infection in the research compared with the control group. More specifically, there was no significant association between HCV-seropositivity and any subtype of lymphoma.

However, compared with the survey group, in the research group there was a significant association between chronic lymphoma leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL/SLL) and HCV seropositivity among women aged 1 to 59 years (odds ratio, 14.69; 95% CI, 1.94–111.01; P =.001).

Based on these results, “in regions with a low HCV prevalence, the association between HCV infection and the risk of extrahepatic malignancies should be further studied in the future,” the researchersly wrote.


Liu B, Zhang Y, Li J, Zhang W. Hepatitis C virus and risk of extrahepatic malignancies: a case-control study. Sci Rep. 2019;9(1):19444.