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Reuters Health Information (2004-07-21): Vitamin K2 may curb liver cancer in women with viral cirrhosis


Vitamin K2 may curb liver cancer in women with viral cirrhosis

Last Updated: 2004-07-21 10:42:10 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Daily vitamin K2 supplementation may help prevent the development of hepatocellular carcinoma in women with viral cirrhosis of the liver, Japanese researchers report in the July 21st issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Dr. Susumu Shiomi and colleagues from Osaka City University previously reported that daily vitamin K2 prevented bone loss in women with cirrhosis of the liver. (See Reuters Health report May 27, 2002). "The women in this original trial also satisfied criteria required for examination of the effects of vitamin K2 on the development of liver cancer," Dr. Shiomi told Reuters Health.

In all, 40 women with viral liver cirrhosis who were admitted to the hospital between 1996 and 1998 were randomly assigned to 45 milligrams per day of vitamin K2 or to no vitamin K2. All women received dietary advice and symptomatic therapy for ascites as needed.

Liver cancer was detected in 2 of the 21 patients given vitamin K2 and 9 of the 19 controls. Thus, Dr. Shiomi reported that "the cumulative proportion of patients with liver cancer was smaller in the treated group."

After adjusting for factors including age, alanine aminotransferase activity, serum albumin, and total bilirubin, the risk ratio for the development of liver cancer in vitamin K2-treated women was 0.13.

"Despite its small size," the authors note, "our study indicates that vitamin K2 decreases the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma to about 20% compared with the control group, suggesting that vitamin K2 may delay the onset of hepatocarcinogenesis."

JAMA 2004;292:358-361.

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