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Chronic hepatitis B patients risk not only liver cancer but also other cancers

Hit : 1,959 Date : 2023-01-30

- Chronic hepatitis B patients are more likely to develop “extrahepatic malignancies” such as stomach, lung, and colorectal cancer 

- Taking antiviral drugs suppresses virus proliferation... Lowers the risk of extrahepatic malignancy

It was discovered for the first time in the world that chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients have a high risk of not only liver cancer, but also “cancers outside the liver (hepatic malignancy)” such as stomach, lung, and colorectal cancers.

The research results showed that patients with CHB have an elevated risk of developing primary extrahepatic malignancy. Anti-viral treatment was associated with a lower risk of extrahepatic malignancy development among patients with CHB.

On May 26, Seoul National University Hospital Gastroenterology Department Professor Lee Jeong-Hoon's team (Professor Lee Dong Hyeon, Seoul City Boramae Hospital, Clinical Lecturer Chung Sung Won) announced the results of the study, which used the data of 776,380 people from the National Health Insurance Corporation, and analysed the relationship between the risk of developing chronic hepatitis B and antiviral treatment.

Hepatitis B is a disease that occurs frequently in the Asia-Pacific region, including Korea. Chronic hepatitis B causes persistent inflammation of the liver, increasing the risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer. In fact, 1 in 10 chronic hepatitis B patients develops liver cancer within 10 years.

However, according to recent survey results, the hepatitis B virus is detected in organs other than the liver, and chronic hepatitis B patients can develop extrahepatic malignancies such as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma more often than normal people. 

Therefore, In order to confirm the relationship between chronic hepatitis B and extrahepatic malignancy, the research team compared and analyzed the incidence of extrahepatic cancer in the general public and patients diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B between 2012 and 2014.

The study subjects were divided into three categories and followed up for about 4 years.: ▲Chronic hepatitis B + taking antiviral drugs ▲ Chronic hepatitis B + not taking antiviral drugs ▲Non-infected patients.


[Graph] Extrahepatic malignancy incidence rate among chronic hepatitis B patients in the non-antiviral treated group increased the risk of extrahepatic malignancy by 22% compared to the uninfected cohort. The risk of extrahepatic malignancy in the antiviral-treated group was similar to that of the uninfected cohort.

As a result of their analysis, the chronic hepatitis B + no antiviral drug group had an approximately 22% higher risk of extrahepatic cancer than non-infected subjects. In particular, the risk of gastric cancer, lung cancer, thyroid cancer, kidney cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, pancreatic cancer, and gallbladder cancer was relatively higher in the group not taking antiviral drugs than in the non-infected group. On the other hand, there was no difference in the incidence of extrahepatic malignancy in the chronic hepatitis B + antiviral drug group compared to the non-infected group.

Based on these results, the research team confirmed that the hepatitis B virus affects the occurrence of extrahepatic malignancy and that taking antiviral drugs can reduce the risk of extrahepatic malignancies like liver cancer.

Professor Lee Jeong Hoon said, "Chronic hepatitis B patients need active screening for not only liver cancer, but also various other cancers such as stomach cancer, lung cancer, and colorectal cancer." He added, “Chronic hepatitis B causes great social and economic problems by increasing the risk of not only liver cancer but also other types of cancer. In particular, many patients in Korea suffer this condition, so researchers must carry out their research with a strong sense of responsibility.”

The primary authors of the study, Professor Lee Dong Hyeon Lee and Clinical Lecturer Chung Sung Won, commented, "This research is significant in that it confirmed the effect of antiviral drugs in reducing the incidence of extrahepatic malignancy when treating chronic hepatitis B patients.", remarking that, "In the future, the benefits of antiviral treatment in terms of cost-effectiveness can be further evaluated,".

Meanwhile, the results of this study were published online in the 'Journal of Clinical Oncology (IF=44.544)', the most prestigious in the field of oncology.


[Picture from left] Professor Lee Jeong-Hoon of SNUH Gastroenterology Department, Professor Lee Dong Hyeon of Boramae Hospital, Clinical Lecturer Chung Sung Won)

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