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Reuters Health Information (2008-11-05): Hepatitis C virus infection may be a risk factor for renal cancer


Hepatitis C virus infection may be a risk factor for renal cancer

Last Updated: 2008-11-05 14:59:32 -0400 (Reuters Health)

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters Health) - Researchers from Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, announced here this week that chronic hepatitis C virus infection appears to be a risk factor for primary renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

"We undertook our study when we began to notice what seemed like an unusually large number of patients with kidney cancer coming in to our (hepatology) clinic," principal investigator Dr. Stuart C. Gordon told Reuters Health.

This prompted Dr. Gordon and colleagues to examine Henry Ford Hospital's database to determine the incidence of RCC among HCV-infected patients aged 18 years and older who tested positive for HCV between 1997 and 2008. They were compared with patients who were anti-HCV negative.

The cohort consisted of 74,570 patients, of whom 9,401 were HCV-positive (12.6%).

There were 163 RCC patients among the HCV-negative group and 35 RCC cases among HCV-positive patients. This translates to prevalence rates of 0.25 RCC cases per 100 HCV-negative patients and 0.37 cases per 100 HCV-positive patients, Dr. Gordon reported at The Liver Meeting 2008, the annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

"The mean age at RCC diagnosis was much younger in HCV+ individuals (52 vs. 63)," the research team found.

The unadjusted odds ratio for RCC with versus without HCV was 1.49. Men between 18 and 50 years of age at HCV diagnosis had an adjusted odds ratio for RCC of 4.8.

While the findings indicate an association between chronic HCV and renal cell carcinoma, especially in young males, the investigators note that the results may have been affected by referral bias at a tertiary medical center, as well as unmeasured risk factors.

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