Diabetes triples the risk of liver cancer
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - It appears that diabetes is a strong risk factor for liver cancer, raising the risk two- to three-fold, investigators report.
The study, using data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End-Results (SEER)-Medicare database, is the first population-based study in the US that takes other major risk factors for liver cancer into consideration, according to Dr. Hashem El-Serag, at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and colleagues.
Their analysis included 2161 patients aged 65 and older with confirmed liver cancer between 1994 and 1999. A comparison "control" group included 6183 randomly selected individuals, according to the team's article in the medical journal Gut.
The researchers found that 43 percent of liver cancer patients but only 19 percent of control subjects had diabetes diagnosed during the three years preceding the diagnosis of liver cancer -- to exclude the possibility that liver cancer was the cause of the diabetes.
After accounting for demographic factors, the likelihood of developing liver cancer was three times higher for people with diabetes than for those without.
After excluding patients with hepatitis B or C virus, alcoholicliver disease or hemochromatosis, the chances of developing liver cancer were still 2.87 to 3.11 times higher for people with diabetes
Having hepatitis C alone was associated with 24-fold higher risk of developing liver cancer, and in the presence of diabetes it was increased 37-fold -- suggesting a synergistic interaction between diabetes and hepatitis C.
"Diabetes may account for a significant proportion" of cases of liver cancer, El-Serag's group concludes.
SOURCE: Gut, April 2005