INTRODUCTION: In Taiwan, there is a high incidence of breast cancer and a high prevalence of viral hepatitis. In this case-control study, we used a population-based insurance dataset to evaluate whether breast cancer in women is associated with chronic viral hepatitis infection.
METHODS: From the claims data, we identified 1958 patients with newly diagnosed breast cancer during the period 2000-2008. A randomly selected, age-matched cohort of 7832 subjects without cancer was selected for comparison. Multivariable logistic regression models were constructed to calculate odds ratios of breast cancer associated with viral hepatitis after adjustment for age, residential area, occupation, urbanization, and income. The age-specific (<50 years and [greater than or equal to]50 years) risk of breast cancer was also evaluated.
RESULTS: There were no significant differences in the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, hepatitis B virus (HBV), or the prevalence of combined HBC/HBV infection between breast cancer patients and control subjects (p = 0.48). Multivariable logistic regression analysis, however, revealed that age < 50 years was associated with a 2-fold greater risk of developing breast cancer (OR = 2.03, 95% CI = 1.23-3.34).
CONCLUSIONS: HCV infection, but not HBV infection, appears to be associated with early onset risk of breast cancer in areas endemic for HCV and HBV. This finding needs to be replicated in further studies.