Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment (THETA) Collaborative, University of Toronto, Canada Department of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.
Summary. To explore the impact of the differences in baseline characteristics between immigrants with chronic hepatitis C (CHC) and native-born patients on the prognosis of advanced fibrosis. A retrospective cohort study was conducted in 318 patients (including 128 immigrants) with CHC and advanced fibrosis attending a tertiary referral clinic. Patients' medical records were reviewed to collect data describing immigrant status, baseline characteristics, and liver-related clinical outcomes. Kaplan-Meier (KM) analyses and Cox proportional-hazards regression analyses were performed to explore the differences between the two groups with respect to clinical outcomes. Relative to native-born patients, immigrant patients were older, more likely to be female, and more likely to be Asian. Immigrants were less likely to be heavy drinkers, heavy smokers, injection drug users, and more likely to have type 2 diabetes. KM analyses indicated that immigrant patients had a significantly higher risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) than Canadian-born patients (P = 0.005). Univariate Cox proportional-hazards analyses indicated that immigrant status (hazard ratio (HR) 2.22; P = 0.006), age (HR 1.07; P < 0.001), heavy drinking (HR 2.69; P = 0.001), heavy smoking (HR 2.03; P = 0.019), and type 2 diabetes (HR 2.06; P = 0.011) were significantly associated with the risk of HCC. Multivariable Cox proportional-hazards analyses showed that immigrant status was not an independent risk factor for HCC (HR 1.37; P = 0.318) after adjusting for age and type 2 diabetes. Older age and higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes accounted for the increased risk of HCC among immigrant patients with CHC and advanced fibrosis.