Infection with the hepatitis C virus is the major risk factor for the most common type of liver cancer, a large study of hemophiliacs showed.
Past infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the major risk factor for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of liver cancer, a large study analyzing more than 18,000 U.S. inpatients with hemophiliareported.
HCV infection is also a major risk factor for the general population, but the study stresses that hemophiliacs can be particularly vulnerable, given their past exposure to clotting factor infusions that might have been infected.
Because of its large sample size, the report also provides baseline data to help establish the impact of new antiviral therapies for hepatitis C in the future, researchers say.
The study, “Incidence and risk factors for hepatocellular cancer in individuals with haemophilia: A National Inpatient Sample Study” was published in the journal Haemophilia.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide.
This type of liver cancer can arise from an infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV), which causes hepatitis C — a type of liver inflammation that can lead to cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) or cancer.
Usually, HCV infection lasts a lifetime if not treated. It often spreads by contact with infected blood, which can happen during clotting factor infusions, a common prophylactic (preventive) treatment for hemophilia.
In fact, 90% of the hemophilic patients who were exposed to clotting factor concentrates before the availability of viral inactivation methods and recombinant technology were infected with HCV.
In these people, this infection is the leading cause of cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease and HCC.
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