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Hepatitis C Tied to Higher Kidney Cancer Risk

The virus' influence may extend beyond the liver, researchers say

FRIDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- People infected with the hepatitis C virus are at much higher risk of developing kidney cancer, new research suggests.

A study of more than 67,000 patients enrolled in the Henry Ford Health System from 1997-2008 found that 0.6 percent of patients with hepatitis C developed kidney cancer. That's double the rate of other patients, and the increased risk remained after researchers adjusted statistics so they wouldn't be thrown off by factors like age, gender and race.

"These results add to growing literature that shows that the hepatitis C virus causes disease that extends beyond the liver," said lead author Dr. Stuart C. Gordon, director of hepatology at Henry Ford Hospital, in a statement.

Gordon said it's too early to tell if it's necessary to do more kidney-cancer screening of people with hepatitis C.

"However, a heightened awareness of an increased kidney cancer risk should dictate more careful follow-up of incidental renal [kidney] defects when detected on imaging procedures in patients with chronic hepatitis C," Gordon said.

The study appears in the April issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

More information:

There's more on kidney cancer at the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: Henry Ford Health System, press release, April 6, 2010.

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