Etiological variations in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) exist across different geographic areas. To gain better control of HCC, we retrospectively studied the secular trends and geographic variations in hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related and hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related HCCs in Taiwan. A total of 18,423 HCC cases enrolled in 8 medical centers from 1981 to 2001 were reviewed. Overall, 67% of male HCC in Taiwan was related to HBV infection whereas 55.2% of female HCC in Taiwan was related to HCV infection. The mean age of patients with HBV-related HCC was 53.2 +/- 13.6 years, while the mean age of patients with HCV-related HCC was 65.1 +/- 9.1 years (p < 0.001). The male/female ratio was 6.4 for HBV-related HCC, while it was 1.7 for the HCV-related HCC (p < 0.001). The percentage of HBV-related HCC progressively decreased from 81.5 to 66.2% in males, and from 66.7 to 41.4% in females over the study period. Our study demonstrates that the percentage of HBV-related HCC has progressively decreased over the last 20 years. The relative decrease in HBV-related HCC was not due to a decrease in HBV-related HCC death. Instead, it was caused by an increase in HCV-related HCC. Prevention of new HCV infection and the treatment of chronic hepatitis C should be the primary goals, which will result in better control of HCC in the future, even in an HBV-endemic area like Taiwan.
Copyright 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.