Cancer in patients with hepatitis C

People infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) have a higher risk of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and multiple myeloma, according to a recent study of the Swedish population. These findings are published in the March 2005 issue of Hepatology, the official journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc, the journal is available online via Wiley InterScience at http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/hepatology.

Previous studies have shown that people with HCV have a higher risk of developing cirrhosis and liver cancer, however, studies of the association between HCV and other malignancies have yielded varied and conflicting results. In Sweden, a cluster of four cases of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 554 HCV patients raised the question of an association between those two diseases and other related cancers in the country's population.

To evaluate this possibility, researchers, led by Ann-Sofi Duberg of rebro University Hospital in Sweden, gathered data from the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control and the Swedish Cancer Registry to examine the incidence of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, multiple myeloma, chronic lymphatic leukemia, acute lymphatic leukemia, Hodgkin's lymphoma and thyroid cancer in the country's entire cohort of HCV patients.

For 27,150 HCV patients, the researchers modelled the date of HCV infection based on age and mode of transmission. They then collected data on the relevant cancer diagnoses among these patients for the time period from 1990 to 2000, excluding those whose HCV diagnosis was within 3 months of their cancer diagnosis. Lastly, they performed statistical analyses to compare these patients' cancer rates to those of the entire Swedish population.

They found that the risk of both non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and multiple myeloma were significantly higher compared to the ge

Contact: David Greenberg
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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