AIM: To identify factors associated with the age at onset of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
METHODS: Five hundred and fifty-six consecutive patients positive for HCV antibody and treatment-naïve HCC diagnosed between 1995 and 2004 were analyzed. Patients were classified into three groups according to age at HCC onset: < 60 years (n = 79), 60-79 years (n = 439), or ≥ 80 years (n = 38). Differences among groups in terms of sex, body mass index (BMI), lifestyle characteristics, and liver function were assessed. Factors associated with HCC onset in patients < 60 or ≥ 80 years were analyzed by logistic regression analysis.
RESULTS: Significant differences emerged for sex, BMI, degree of smoking and alcohol consumption, mean bilirubin, alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) levels, prothrombin activity, and platelet counts. The mean BMI values of male patients > 60 years old were lower and mean BMI values of female patients < 60 years old were higher than those of the general Japanese population. BMI > 25 kg/m(2) [hazard ratio (HR), 1.8, P = 0.045], excessive alcohol consumption (HR, 2.5, P = 0.024), male sex (HR, 3.6, P = 0.002), and GGT levels > 50 IU/L (HR, 2.4, P = 0.014) were independently associated with HCC onset in patients < 60 years. Low ALT level was the only factor associated with HCC onset in patients aged ≥ 80 years.
CONCLUSION: Increased BMI is associated with increased risk for early HCC development in HCV-infected patients. Achieving recommended BMI and reducing alcohol intake could help prevent hepatic carcinogenesis.