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Reuters Health Information (2007-07-11): Fatty liver tied to cancer in hepatitis C cirrhosis


Fatty liver tied to cancer in hepatitis C cirrhosis

Last Updated: 2007-07-11 14:44:10 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Hepatic steatosis is associated with an increased frequency of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients with hepatitis C-related cirrhosis, according to Massachusetts-based researchers.

"Our findings, which associated higher degrees of hepatic steatosis with HCC in patients undergoing liver transplantation for hepatitis C, implicate fatty liver as an accelerant of the development of HCC observed in these patients," senior investigator Dr. Raymond T. Chung told Reuters Health.

Dr. Chung and colleagues at General Hospital, Boston came to this conclusion after a retrospective review involving 94 patients with hepatitis C cirrhosis who underwent transplantation between 1992 and 2005.

According to their report in the June 15th issue of Cancer, 32 patients had evidence of hepatocellular cancer. In the HCC group, 69% had evidence of steatosis compared to 50% of those without HCC.

Compared with no steatosis, the odds ratio for the development of HCC ranged from 1.61 for grade 1 steatosis to 8.02 for grade 3 or 4.

The researchers conclude that steatosis is independently associated with hepatocellular cancer in these patients and may be a useful marker for identifying those at high risk.

Moreover, added Dr. Chung, the findings "suggest that measures to ameliorate fatty liver may be helpful in reducing this risk."

Cancer 2007;109:2490-2496.

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