Hepatitis C may increase pancreatic cancer risk

January 13, 2009

A new study shows that infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) increases a person's risk for a highly fatal cancer of the biliary tree, the bile carrying pathway between the liver and pancreas. This finding is in the January issue of Hepatology, a journal published by John Wiley & Sons on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD).

More than 4 million Americans are infected with HCV, which causes chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis and liver cancer. However, the associations between the virus and other potentially-related cancers are less clear.

To better understand the associations between HCV and these cancers, researchers led by Hashem El-Serag of Baylor College of Medicine, conducted a retrospective cohort study of more than 718,000 U.S. veterans who were treated at Veterans Affairs medical facilities between October 1, 1988 and September 30, 2004. Among them, 146,394 were infected with HCV and 572,293 were not. Uninfected subjects were matched to infected ones by sex, age and type and date of visit.

The researchers followed the subjects for an average of 2.3 years to determine the incidence these cancers. They found that "risk for biliary tree cancer in the HCV-infected cohort, although low (4 per 100,000 person-years), was more than double that in the HCV-uninfected cohort."

The study is the first to formally examine the association between HCV and pancreatic cancer. It is also the first time a significant association has been detected between HCV and this type of cancer in a large cohort study. The findings may lead to greater examination of rare malignancies.

Article: "Risk of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Cancers Following Hepatitis C Virus Infection: A Population-based Study of U.S. Veterans." El-Serag, Hashem; Engels, Eric; Landgren, Ola; Henderson, Louise; Chiao, Elizabeth; Amaratunge, Harshinie; Giordano, Thomas. Hepatology ; January 2009.

Source: Wiley

Explore further: Researchers develop world's most sensitive test to detect infectious disease, superbugs

Related Stories

Physicists develop ultrasensitive nanomechanical biosensor

June 10, 2015

Two young researchers working at the MIPT Laboratory of Nanooptics and Plasmonics, Dmitry Fedyanin and Yury Stebunov, have developed an ultracompact, highly sensitive nanomechanical sensor for analyzing the chemical composition ...

Viral switches share a shape

October 27, 2014

A hinge in the RNA genome of the virus that causes hepatitis C works like a switch that can be flipped to prevent it from replicating in infected cells. Scientists have discovered that this shape is shared by several other ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

E_L_Earnhardt
not rated yet Jan 13, 2009
A COOL steril water drip between the infection and the "tree" may stop the infection!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.