July 3, 2009 Risk for hepatocellular carcinoma, a primary malignancy of the liver, was statistically significantly higher among women with hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection than among women without the virus, according to a new study.
Because hepatocellular carcinoma mostly occurs in men, few women have been included in long-term studies of the association between HBV infection and this carcinoma.
In this study, Chien-Jen Chen, Sc.D., of the Genomics Research Center in Taipei, Taiwan, and colleagues used a nationwide cohort of more than 1.5 million pregnant Taiwanese women tested from 1983 to 2000 to study relationships of HBV infection and parity with hepatocellular risk.
The researchers found that risk for hepatocellular carcinoma during follow-up was statistically significantly higher among pregnant women who had chronic, active, or persistent HBV infections (and even in those who had seroclearance for hepatitis B surface antigen during follow-up) than among women who were not carriers of hepatitis B surface antigen at study entry.
The more children a woman had, the lower her risk appeared to be. This inverse relationship between parity and the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma was statistically significant. "Underlying biological mechanisms responsible for this…merit further investigation," the authors write.
This research was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute on June 17, 2009.
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