Hepatitis C, Hispanic Ethnicity Linked to HCC Mortality

Those with HCV infection have 18-fold higher risk of hepatocellular carcinoma mortality

FRIDAY, Aug. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Hepatitis C infection and Hispanic ethnicity are associated with a higher risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)-related mortality, according to research published in the August issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Zobair M. Younossi, M.D., and Maria Stepanova, Ph.D., of the Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., analyzed data from 15,866 participants in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1988 to 1994.

The researchers found that, over a median follow-up of 160 months, 14.55 percent of the subjects had died, with 25 of the deaths related to HCC and 58 deaths non-HCC liver related. Factors that predicted mortality related to HCC were hepatitis C infection (hazard ratio [HR], 18.12), Hispanic ethnicity (HR, 5.14), and age (HR, 1.10). Factors predicting non-HCC liver-related mortality included hepatitis C (HR, 27.00), nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (HR, 11.56), alcoholic liver disease (HR, 10.81), and iron overload (HR, 6.18).

"Although early diagnosis and treatment of all liver diseases and diabetes mellitus may favorably impact all liver-related mortality, screening and treatment of hepatitis C virus may specifically improve the rate of HCC-related mortality. In addition, screening and treatment programs must target all individuals at risk for HCC, including Hispanic Americans," the authors conclude.

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