Hepatitis C is an infectious disease affecting the liver, caused by the hepatitis C virus. A new study has revealed that people infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) may be at increased risk of various forms of cancers, including renal, prostate and liver cancer. The researchers suggested that an extrahepatic manifestation of HCV may be an increased risk of cancer. They found that cancer rates in patients with HCV were more than double compared to those without HCV.
Senior author of the study Lisa Nyberg from the Kaiser Permanente, Southern California, said, "The results suggest that cancer rates are increased in the cohort of hepatitis C patients versus the non-hepatitis C patients, both including and excluding liver cancers. These findings certainly point to the suggestion that hepatitis C may be associated with an increased risk of cancer."
This study was conducted at Kaiser Permanente, Southern California. The researchers recorded all cancer diagnoses in patients over 18 years of age with or without HCV during 2008-2012. They found that in the HCV cohort there were 2,213 cancer diagnoses (1,524/100,000) during the five-year period and 1,654 cancer diagnoses when liver cancer was excluded (1,139/100,000). While, in the non-HCV cohort there were 84,419 cancer diagnoses (605/100,000) during the same five-year period and 83,795 (601/100,000) when liver cancer was excluded. The study authors noted that when all cancers are considered the rate is 2.5 times higher in the HCV cohort; when liver cancers are excluded, the rate is still almost two times higher.
Nyberg said, "However, the findings must be interpreted with caution, as the study also showed that confounding factors such as alcohol abuse, tobacco, obesity, and diabetes modified the results."
The study has been presented at The International Liver Congress 2015 in Vienna, Austria.