Liver Cancer Often Linked to Diabetes

Posted on May 5th, 2010 by

Diabetes increases the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and may account for a greater number of HCC cases in the United States than any other single HCC risk factor. These results were presented at the 101st annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common type of primary liver cancer (cancer that begins in the liver). Factors that increase the risk of developing HCC include long-term, heavy alcohol use, chronic infection with hepatitis B or C viruses, diabetes, obesity, and certain rare metabolic disorders.

To evaluate the extent to which each of these risk factors contributes to HCC incidence in the United States, researchers evaluated information from large national databases. Information was collected for more than 5,600 people with liver cancer and more than 190,000 people without liver cancer.

  • 63% of HCC cases were associated with at least one of the evaluated risk factors.
  • Diabetes was associated with the highest percentage of cases (33.5%), followed by alcohol-related disorders (23.9%), hepatitis C virus infection (20.7%), hepatitis B virus infection (5.7%), rare metabolic disorders (3.1%), and obesity (2.7%).
  • The extent to which these factors contributed to HCC varied by sex and race.

These results suggest that diabetes prevention could make an important contribution to HCC prevention in the United States. Avoidance of heavy alcohol use and hepatitis B and C virus infections is also important.

Reference: McGlynn KA, Quraishi S, Welzel TM et al. Attributable risks for hepatocellular carcinoma in the United States. Presented at the 101st annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. April 17-210, 2010. Washington, DC. Abstract 1816.


Tags: UNM CC Features

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