Heavy alcohol consumption increases the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma in hepatitis B virus-related cirrhosis

J Hepatol. 2013 Apr;58(4):730-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2012.11.045. Epub 2012 Dec 6.


Background & aims: Taiwan has a high prevalence of hepatitis B viral (HBV) infection and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with increasing consumption of alcohol. We investigated the impact of heavy alcohol consumption and HBV infection on HCC in cirrhotic patients.

Methods: 966 cirrhotic patients (132 with HBV infection and alcoholism, 632 with HBV infection, and 202 patients with alcoholism) were enrolled between 2000 and 2009 and followed until 2011. The primary end point was newly developed HCC.

Results: Within the three patient groups (cirrhotic patients with HBV infection and alcoholism, HBV infection alone, and alcoholism alone) 38 (28.8%), 100 (15.8%), and 21 (10.4%) showed newly developed HCC, respectively. The 10-year cumulative (52.8% vs. 39.8% vs. 25.6%, p <0.001) and annual incidences (9.9%, 4.1%, and 2.1%) of HCC were significantly higher in cirrhotic patients with HBV infection and alcoholism than those in patients with HBV infection or alcoholism alone. For patients with HBV infection and alcoholism, baseline serum HBV DNA (OR=16.8, p=0.025), antiviral nucleos(t)ides analogues (NUCs) therapy (OR=0.01, p=0.035), and serum α-fetoprotein (OR=1.18, p=0.045) were risk predictors of HCC by multivariate logistic regression models. The cumulative incidence of HCC was higher in patients with higher baseline serum HBV DNA. Antiviral NUCs therapy reduced the incidence of HCC.

Conclusions: Heavy alcohol consumption significantly increased the risk of HCC in HBV-related cirrhotic patients. Elevated baseline serum HBV DNA was a strong risk predictor of HCC and antiviral NUCs therapy reduced the incidence of HCC in cirrhotic patients with HBV infection and alcoholism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / etiology*
  • DNA, Viral / blood
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / complications*
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / virology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications*
  • Liver Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Liver Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Taiwan / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • DNA, Viral