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Published On: Fri, Apr 22nd, 2016

Hepatitis B: Risk of liver cancer not reduced after virus clears, according to researchers

Long-term infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) can cause liver inflammation and increase the risk of liver cancer. Researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, found that resolving HBV infection was not associated with reduced rates of liver cancer.

Hepatitis B virions Image/CDC

Hepatitis B virions
Image/CDC

A total of 238 patients who resolved HBV infection and 435 patients who did not were selected from among 1346 patients with chronic HBV infection followed for up to 31 years. The liver cancer risk, measured as a hazard ratio (HR), in patients after resolving HBV infection was similar compared with the risk in patients who did not resolve infection (HR: 0.7; 95% confidence interval: 0.2-2.4).

“Since the risk of liver cancer persists among adults with apparent cure of the infection, they might still need to be followed closely,” said Dr. Prabhu Gounder, lead author of the Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics article.

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