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Reuters Health Information (2009-02-27): Liver cancer incidence has increased since the 1970s

Epidemiology

Liver cancer incidence has increased since the 1970s

Last Updated: 2009-02-27 10:42:25 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma has tripled since the 1970s, but survival rates are improving, according to a report published online February 17 by the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

"Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide," Dr. Sean F. Altekruse and colleagues from the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, write. "Incidence rates are increasing in the United States," they note.

The researchers assessed age-adjusted incidence trends for HCC in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registries from 1975 to 2005, and examined age-specific rates for birth cohorts born between 1900 and 1959.

Age-adjusted HCC incidence rates tripled between 1975 and 2005 -- from 1.6 per 100,000 to 4.9 per 100,000. Age-specific incidence rates increased in each 10-year birth cohort from 1900 through 1959. Compared to other racial/ethnic groups, Asians/Pacific Islanders had higher incidence and mortality rates.

"Within the 50- to 59-year age group, the annual percent change in HCC incidence rates significantly increased from 2000 to 2005 for Hispanic men, black men, and white men, and for black and white women (p < 0.05), with HCC incidence rates among blacks exceeding those of Asians/Pacific Islanders during 2003 to 2005," Dr. Altekruse and colleagues report.

"Among persons 75 to 84 years of age, increases in HCC incidence were seen among all men and white women (p < 0.05)."

However, between 1992 and 2004, 2- to 4-year survival rates doubled. This was the result of more patients being diagnosed with localized and regional HCC, leading to improved prognosis. Patients who reported treatment had higher survival rates.

Nonetheless, the authors note, the overall recent 1-year survival rate was only 47%. Still, they say, the report "provides reason for optimism that, with more HCC screening of high-risk groups and treatment of low-stage disease, the burden of HCC can be lessened."

J Clin Oncol 2009;27.

 
 
 
 
                 
 
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