Epidemiology of hepatocellular carcinoma.

Epidemiology and Cancer Registration Unit, IDIBELL, Institut Català d'Oncologia, Avda. Gran Via s/n, Km 2.7, 08907 L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.
Clinics in Liver Disease (Impact Factor: 2.7). 06/2005; 9(2):191-211, v. DOI: 10.1016/j.cld.2004.12.009
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Year 2000 estimates of the incidence of cancer indicate that primary liver cancer remains the fifth most common malignancy in men and the eighth in women. The number of new cases has been predicted as 564,000, corresponding to 398,000 in men and 166,000 in women. The geographic areas at highest risk are located in Eastern Asia, Middle Africa, and some countries of Western Africa. Changes in incidence among migrant populations underline the predominant role of environmental factors in the etiology of primary liver cancer. In high-risk countries, the early cases of primary liver cancer occur already at ages 20 and above, underlying the impact of viral exposures early in life. In countries at low risk, primary liver cancer is rare before the 50s, translating the impact of late exposures with moderate risks and long latency intervals. Sex ratios are typically between 2 and 4. The incidence of primary liver cancer is increasing in several developed countries including the United States, and the increase will likely continue for several decades. The trend has a dominant cohort effect related to exposures to hepatitis B and C viruses. The variability of primary liver cancer incidence is largely explained by the distribution and the natural history of the hepatitis B and C viruses. The attributable risk estimates for the combined effects of these infections account for well over 80% of liver cancer cases worldwide. Primary liver cancer is the first human cancer largely amenable to prevention using hepatitis B virus vaccines and screening of blood and blood products for hepatitis B and C viruses.

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