The researchers determined whether obesity is an independent risk factor for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients with cirrhosis.
The findings of the study were published in the July issue of Hepatology.
Recently, several epidemiologic observations have suggested that obesity might be an independent risk factor for certain malignancies, such as breast cancer, colon cancer, renal cell carcinoma, and esophageal adenocarcinoma.
Explanted liver specimens from a national database on patients undergoing liver transplantation were examined for HCC.
The incidence of HCC was compared among patients with varying body mass indices according to the etiology of cirrhosis.
A multivariate analysis was used for controlling other potentially confounding variables, such as age and sex.
Among the 19,271 patients evaluated, the overall incidence of HCC was found to be 3.4%.
|3.4% of cirrhotics developed HCC.
| Hepatology |
There was a slightly higher prevalence among obese patients compared with lean patients.
The authors discovered that obesity was an independent predictor for HCC in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis (odds ratio [OR], 3.2) and cryptogenic cirrhosis (OR, 11.1).
However, obesity was not an independent predictor in patients with hepatitis C, hepatitis B, primary biliary cirrhosis, or autoimmune hepatitis.
Dr Satheesh Nair, of the Ochsner Clinic Foundation, New Orleans, said on behalf of fellow colleagues, "The higher risk of HCC in obese patients is confined to alcoholic liver disease and cryptogenic cirrhosis."
"More frequent surveillance for HCC may be warranted in obese patients with alcoholic and cryptogenic cirrhosis.
"However, as this study is based on patients with advanced cirrhosis, our findings need to be confirmed in a broader population of individuals with cirrhosis," it was concluded.