Cancer incidence in people with hepatitis B or C infection: a large community-based linkage study

J Hepatol. 2006 Aug;45(2):197-203. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2006.02.014. Epub 2006 Mar 31.


Background/aims: Risks of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) following hepatitis B and/or hepatitis C virus (HBV/HCV) infection are well known, those for other cancers are less well understood. The aim was to quantify the risk of cancers among persons diagnosed with HBV/HCV infections.

Methods: The data from a cohort of 39109 HBV, 75834 HCV, and 2604 HBV/HCV co-infected persons notified to the State health department, 1990-2002, were probabilistically linked to the Cancer Registry and standardised incidence ratios (SIRs) for cancer were calculated.

Results: The match rate for any cancer was 2.7%, 2.3% and 3.3% for HBV, HCV and HBV/HCV co-infected notifications. SIRs for HCC were 30.6 (95% CI 25.7-36.5), 22.7 (95% CI 19.1-26.5) and 30.3 (95% CI 13.6-67.5), respectively. Increased risk was detected for Burkitt's lymphoma and HBV (SIR 12.9, 95% CI 5.4-30.9) and immunoproliferative malignancies following HCV (SIR 5.6, 95% CI 1.8-17.5).

Conclusions: The risk of HCC in the infected cohort was 20-30 times greater than in the uninfected population with SIRs two to three times greater than those for the other HBV/HCV infection associated cancers. The modest though significant risk of immunoproliferative malignancies associated with HCV infection is consistent with recent findings.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / epidemiology*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / etiology
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B / complications*
  • Hepatitis C / complications*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Liver Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Liver Neoplasms / etiology
  • Male
  • Medical Record Linkage*
  • New South Wales / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors