Researchers from Baltimore, Maryland, USA, determined the epidemiologic trends in mortality from hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and biliary cancers (BCs) in Maryland during the last three decades.
The number of deaths due to HCC and BCs, from 1970 to 1997, were obtained from the Maryland State Department of Health and Hygiene vital statistics database.
Malignant neoplasms of the gallbladder and intrahepatic and extrahepatic bile ducts were grouped together as biliary cancers.
To determine the trend in mortality, the total time period was divided into seven 4-year periods.
| Mortality due to HCC in men increased from 1.34 to 2.7 per 100,000 between 1970 and 1997.
| American Journal of Gastroenterology |
Mortality from HCC increased from 0.94 to 1.84 per 100,000 population (rate ratio = 1.94) and that from BCs increased from 1.28 to 1.7 per 100,000 population (rate ratio = 1.31) over the study period.
Although mortality due to HCC doubled in men (1.34 to 2.7 per 100,000) during this period, only a modest increase was observed among women (0.59 to 1.06 per 100,000).
Due to a marked increase in the number of deaths among white Americans, the difference in HCC-related mortality between white Americans and African Americans decreased considerably during this period.
The team found that mean age at death increased steadily for BCs, from 67 to 73 years, whereas there was no real trend for HCC.
Among African Americans, the death from HCC remained stable. However, there was a 2-fold increase in BC-related death.
Author S. Nair, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, said on behalf of the group, "There was a marked increase in deaths from HCC over the past 3 decades in Maryland. This increase was more evident among men and white Americans."
"Deaths due to BCs increased modestly during the same period of observation. The marked rise in BC-related deaths among African Americans remains unexplained," it was concluded.