The epidemiology of chronic hepatitis C infection in survivors of childhood cancer: an update of the St Jude Children's Research Hospital hepatitis C seropositive cohort

Blood. 2004 Apr 1;103(7):2460-6. doi: 10.1182/blood-2003-07-2565. Epub 2003 Dec 18.


Childhood cancer survivors transfused before 1992 are at risk for chronic hepatitis C (HCV) infection. In 1995, St Jude Children's Research Hospital initiated an epidemiologic study of childhood cancer survivors with transfusion-acquired HCV. Of the 148 survivors with HCV confirmed by second-generation enzyme immunoassay, 122 consented to participate in the study. Their current median age is 29 years (range, 9 to 47 years). At enrollment, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing indicated chronic infection in 81.1%; genotype 1 was the most common viral genotype. Liver biopsy in 60 patients at a median of 12.4 years from the diagnosis of malignancy showed mild (28.8%) or moderate (35.6%) fibrosis; 13.6% had cirrhosis. Elevated body mass index was associated with histologic findings of increased steatosis (P=.008). Antimetabolite chemotherapy exposure was associated with early progression of fibrosis. Significant quality-of-life deficits were observed in noncirrhotic adult survivors. Antiviral therapy resulted in clearance of infection in 17 (44%) of 38 patients to date. Six patients have died; 1 patient with decompensated cirrhosis died of variceal bleeding. Despite a young age at HCV infection, the progression of liver disease in childhood cancer survivors is comparable to that seen in adults.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hepatitis C / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / classification
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Survivors*
  • Time Factors