Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most frequent cause of death in patients with Hepatitis C virus-induced cirrhosis.
A number of studies in different populations worldwide suggest an association between Hepatitis C virus genotype 1 and the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma.
However, no consensus has emerged yet on this matter, which is still controversial.
|44 of 104 patients infected with genotype 1b developed hepatocellular carcinoma|
In an attempt to clarify this issue, Dr Savino Bruno and colleagues from Italy conducted a prospective study of 163 consecutive Hepatitis C virus-positive patients with cirrhosis.
The patients were enrolled between 1989 and 1990.
Hepatocellular carcinoma occurrence was detected by ultrasound surveillance every 6 months.
Independent predictors of hepatocellular carcinoma were assessed with a Cox regression analysis.
The team found after a median follow-up of 11 years, 44 of 104 patients infected with genotype 1b developed hepatocellular carcinoma.
The researchers noted that 10 of 52 patients infected with genotype 2a/c developed hepatocellular carcinoma.
Multivariate analysis showed that Hepatitis C virus genotype 1b was independently associated with hepatocellular carcinoma development.
Other predictors of hepatocellular carcinoma were esophageal varices, male gender, and age over 60 years.
Dr Bruno's team concluded, "Hepatitis C virus genotype 1b is associated with a statistically significant higher risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma."
"Patients with cirrhosis that are infected with this genotype require more intensive surveillance for the early detection and aggressive management of neoplasia."