Incidence rates of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) have increased in the U.S. This population-based study publishing in the August issue of Hepatology, a journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, found that metabolic syndrome significantly increases risk of developing these primary liver cancers.
According to data from the National Cancer Institute, 24,120 new cases of liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancer and close to 19,000 deaths from the diseases occurred in the U.S. in 2010. Major risk factors for HCC, the most common type of liver cancer, are chronic infection with hepatitis B and C viruses and excessive alcohol consumption. ICC, the second most common type of liver cancer, is associated with primary sclerosing cholangitis and inflammatory bowel disease. However, the cause of up to half of HCC and ICC remains unknown.
"There has been an increase in the incidence rates of liver cancerHCC and ICCin the U.S.," explains lead author Tania Welzel, M.D., with the National Cancer Institute and Klinikum der J.W. Goethe-Universitt. "While metabolic syndrome is a recognized risk factor for HCC and may also modify ICC risk, the magnitude of this effect has not been investigated on a large scale in the U.S." Metabolic syndrome comprises a group of medical conditions which include central obesity (excess abdominal-area weight), raised fasting glucose levels and diabetes mellitus, raised triglycerides, reduced HDL cholesterol, and hypertension.
For the present study, Dr. Welzel and colleagues examined the association between metabolic syndrome and development of primary liver cancers in the general U.S. population. Using the SEER-Medicare database, researchers identified individuals diagnosed with HCC or ICC between 1993 and 2005. A 5% sample of individuals residing in geographic regions similar to SEER registries was selected for comparison purposes. A total of 364
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