A new study has found that metabolic syndrome, a constellation of conditions that increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes, may also increase the risk of the two most common types of liver cancer.
Metabolic syndrome is defined as the co-occurrence of at least three of the following five conditions: raised blood pressure, elevated waist circumference, low HDL or "good" cholesterol, raised triglyceride levels and raised fasting plasma glucose levels.
According to Katherine McGlynn, a senior investigator at the National Cancer Institute, persons with these conditions may be at increased risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma.
For the current study, researchers identified 3,649 cases of hepatocellular carcinoma and 743 cases of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. They compared the medical history of these patients with the medical histories of 195,953 cancer-free adults.
Statistical analyses showed that the persons with liver cancer were significantly more likely than cancer-free persons to have a prior history of metabolic syndrome.
They found 37.1 percent of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma had pre-existing metabolic syndrome, as did 29.7 percent of patients with intraheptic carcinoma; only 17.1 percent of the cancer-free adults had metabolic syndrome.
The findings were presented at the AACR 102nd Annual Meeting 2011, April 2-6.