Hepatitis C may increase pancreatic cancer risk

Jan 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: New targeted therapy shows promise against breast cancer

Related Stories

EPA says first day of oil spill spent 'planning'

10 hours ago

On the afternoon of the largest coastal oil spill in California in 25 years, graduate student Natalie Phares quickly organized a volunteer bucket brigade to clean a beach north of Santa Barbara.

Insect mating behavior has lessons for drones

10 hours ago

Male moths locate females by navigating along the latter's pheromone (odor) plume, often flying hundreds of meters to do so. Two strategies are involved to accomplish this: males must find the outer envelope ...

Recommended for you

Drug boosts long-term survival after breast cancer

4 hours ago

After a diagnosis of localized breast cancer, women are often prescribed tamoxifen for five years to help prevent a recurrence, but researchers said Saturday another drug, anastrazole, may work better.

User comments : 1

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.