70-fold Elevated Risk of Hepatocellular Carcinoma in those with Family History and Hepatitis B or C Markers
A family history of liver cancer is reported to
increase risk of developing hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC), independent
of hepatitis according to findings published in the May issue of Hepatology,
a journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.
The study also shows 70-fold elevated risk of HCC in those with liver
cancer in the family and markers for hepatitis B (HBV) or hepatitis C
Liver cancer ranks sixth in incidence and the third
cause of mortality worldwide. According to the World Health
Organization (WHO) liver cancer was responsible for 700,000 deaths in
2008, with HBV and HCV accounting for 78% of all cases of HCC. A
vaccine for HBV has been available since 1982; however prior studies
have shown familial clustering of HCC in East Asia where HBV is common.
While medical evidence reports family history to be related to HCC
risk, little is known of this relationship in non-Asian populations.
“There is a high incidence of liver cancer in
southern Italy which is likely a result of a higher frequency of HCV in
this area,” explains Professor Carlo La Vecchia from the Istituto di
Ricerche Farmacologiche ‘‘Mario Negri” and the University of Milan in
Italy. “Our study investigated the relationship between family history
and liver cancer in a Western population.”
The case-control study was carried out between
January 1999 and July 2002, and included 229 cases of HCC and 431
hospital controls. HCC patients ranged in age from 43 to 84 years,
providing survey information and blood samples. The control group
included patients admitted to hospital for conditions not related to
tumors. Analysis of data on family history and liver cancer updated to
April 2011 was also performed.
Results show that 75% of the cases and 11% of
controls showed evidence of HBV and HCV infection. Family history of
liver cancer was associated to HCC risk after adjusting for chronic HBV
and HCV. Compared to subjects without family history of liver cancer
and no chronic HBV and HCV, researchers reported an odds ratio of 73 for
those with both risk factors, indicating a 70-fold increased risk of
“Our findings confirm that individuals with a
positive family history of liver cancer have three times higher risk of
developing HCC,” notes Professor La Vecchia. “Monitoring individuals
with family history, particularly those with hepatitis markers, could
help to identify HCC at an earlier stage, and hence potentially reduce
mortality from HCC.”
Full Citation: Family History of Liver Cancer
and Hepatocellular Carcinoma.” Federica Turati, Valeria Edefonti,
Renato Talamini, Monica Ferraroni, Matteo Malvezzi, Francesca Bravi,
Silvia Franceschi, Maurizio Montella, Jerry Polesel, Antonella
Zucchetto, Carlo La Vecchia, Eva Negri and Adriano Decarli. Hepatology; Published Online: March 21, 2012 (DOI: 10.1002/hep.24794); Print Issue Date: May 2012. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hep.24794/abstract.
Author Contact: To arrange an interview with Professor La Vecchia, please contact Sergio Vicario with the University of Milan at firstname.lastname@example.org or at +39 02 45485059.
These studies are published in Hepatology. Media wishing to receive a PDF of the articles may contact email@example.com.
About the Journal
Hepatology is the premier publication in the field of liver
disease, publishing original, peer-reviewed articles concerning all
aspects of liver structure, function and disease. Hepatology’s
current impact factor is 10.885.Each month, the distinguished Editorial
Board monitors and selects only the best articles on subjects such as
immunology, chronic hepatitis, viral hepatitis, cirrhosis, genetic and
metabolic liver diseases and their complications, liver cancer, and drug
metabolism. Hepatology is published on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). For more information, please visit http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/(ISSN)1527-3350.
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