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Reuters Health Information (2008-04-16): Hepatitis B linked to increased risk of extrahepatic bile duct cancer


Hepatitis B linked to increased risk of extrahepatic bile duct cancer

Last Updated: 2008-04-16 17:16:57 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Results of a study published in the April 15th issue of the International Journal of Cancer suggest an association between hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and an increased risk of extrahepatic bile duct cancer.

In a population-based case-control study conducted in Shanghai, China, Dr. Ann W. Hsing, of the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues examined the prevalence of HBV and hepatitis C infection in 417 patients with biliary tract cancers, 517 with biliary stones, and 762 healthy controls randomly selected from the population.

Among population controls, HBsAg seroprevalence was 7.3%. Patients with extrahepatic bile duct cancer were more likely to be positive for HBsAg (14.2%). This resulted in a 2.4-fold increased risk of extrahepatic bile duct cancer.

There was no significant association between HBsAg and gallbladder cancer, ampulla of Vater cancer, gallstones, and bile duct stones.

The team observed a low prevalence of HCV infection in this population (2%), which limited the ability to detect any association with biliary disease.

"HBV induces hepatocellular carcinoma mainly by causing a chronic necroinflammatory process with regeneration of hepatocytes," Dr. Hsing's team notes. "A similar mechanism may be involved in intrahepatic and extrahepatic bile duct cancers, particularly since common progenitor stem cells differentiate into hepatocytes and cholangiocytes," they suggest.

Int J Cancer 2008;122:1849-1853.

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