Diabetes associated with higher incidence of liver cancer

Diabetes may be associated with elevated occurrences of and deaths from a common type of liver cancer, according to a research article published online in PLoS ONE.

Patients with pre-existing diabetes have an 87 percent increased risk for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common form of liver cancer. The data analysis also showed that pre-existing diabetes is a significant predictor of recurrence of this type of cancer.

In addition, patients are 1.88 times more likely to die from HCC if they have pre-existing diabetes. Researchers point to factors such as increased risk of complications, morbidity, and mortality that are part of diabetes itself.

“In this meta-analysis, we found an increased risk of HCC in patients with diabetes mellitus. This finding underscores the need for preventative measures of diabetes management including weight control, promotion of measures to increase physical activity, and maintenance of a healthy diet,” according to the article.

For this study, researchers analyzed data they gathered from 14 pre-existing studies on HCC, the seventh most common cancer and the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in the world.

More than 80 percent of the cases develop in Asian and African countries, with 55 percent of those cases reported in China alone. The prevalence of chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C infections in these parts of the world may be the cause.

The rate of HCC has increased over the past three decades in the United States, Canada and Western Europe where there is a relatively lower incidence of hepatitis B and hepatitis C infections. The age adjusted incidence of HCC has more than tripled between 1975 and 2005 in the US alone.

According to the research article, the substantial increase of type 1 and type 2 diabetes during this period is highly suspected as the cause of about 50 percent of this increase.

Source: PLoS ONE

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