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European studies on risks of hepatocellular carcinoma
Date:10/21/2011

higher rate of hepatocellular carcinoma than those who were HBV negative. However, they also found that the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma was much lower in Greenland than parts of the world that had a similarly high prevalence of hepatitis B.

The authors write that this finding could be attributable to a number of factors: for example, that the infection is transmitted typically during adolescence and adulthood, whereas infection during childhood carries a stronger risk for developing hepatocellular carcinoma; and that the strains of HBV that are associated with high risk of hepatocellular carcinoma are less common in Greenland than elsewhere. Furthermore, low smoking rates and alcohol consumption in Greenland may account for the lower rates of hepatocellular carcinoma, along with the relatively young age of the cohort studied (average age at recruitment was 33.4 years, with follow-up occurring in the mid-fifties.)

In an accompanying editorial, Morris Sherman, M.D., and Josep M. Llovet, M.D., of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine concur with the authors that genotype differences may in part account for the lower prevalence of hepatocellular carcinoma amongst those with HBV. The editorialists note that in Greenland, the D and B6 genotypes of HVB are most common, and that "the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma in people infected by genotype B6 has not been documented." They add that viral load and infection by mutants of HBV are also risk factors of hepatocellular carcinoma that this study did not investigate.


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Contact: Kristine Crane
jncimedia@oxfordjournals.org
301-841-1287
Journal of the National Cancer Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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