Familial clustering of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is related to perinatal transmission. It is the main cause of familial-type hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
However, the route of HBV transmission differs between the children and siblings of patients with HCC.
In this study, doctors from Australia and Taiwan assessed differences in HBV carrier rates and HCC-related mortality between 2 generations.
|Children of female index patients had higher rates of liver cancer mortality.|
|Journal of Hepatology|
The team screened 13,676 relatives of individuals with HCC using ultrasonography, alpha-fetoprotein, liver biochemistry tests and viral markers, between 1992 and 1997.
They compared the total number of HCC-related deaths occurring over a 9-year period between the generations of index patients and their children.
The doctors found that more HCC-related deaths occurred in the index patient generation than in the child generation.
They also established that the children of female index patients had higher rates of liver cancer related mortality than children of male index patients.
This was also the case when the analysis was limited to male HBV carriers.
The team found that the prevalence of HBsAg in the offspring of HBsAg positive mothers was 66% in the child generation and 72% in the index patient generation.
Dr Chien-Hung Chen and colleagues concluded, "Perinatal transmission and maternal viral load are important risk factors in hepatocarcinogenesis".