Glycemic load in relation to hepatocellular carcinoma among patients with chronic hepatitis infection

P Lagiou, M Rossi, A Tzonou, C Georgila, D Trichopoulos, C La Vecchia
Annals of Oncology: Official Journal of the European Society for Medical Oncology 2009, 20 (10): 1741-5

BACKGROUND: Chronic infections with hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are of paramount etiologic importance for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but other factors are likely to be important. The association of diabetes mellitus and obesity with HCC raises the possibility that dietary glycemic load (GL) may interact with chronic hepatitis infection in the causation of HCC.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: We conducted a case-control study of 333 HCC patients and 360 controls in Athens, Greece. Third-generation assays were used to determine chronic HBV and HCV infection and information from a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire to estimate dietary GL.

RESULTS: After adjustment for possible confounding factors through multiple logistic regression, we found a nonsignificant positive association between GL and HCC, which was exclusively accounted for by a positive association between GL and HCC cases with chronic infection with hepatitis B and/or C. For the latter group of patients, the odds ratio at the highest compared with the lowest GL quintile was 1.95 (95% confidence interval 1.09-3.48). The association was strengthened after exclusion of subjects with diabetes.

CONCLUSION: Our results indicate that, among patients with chronic infection with HBV and/or HCV, reduction of dietary GL could reduce risk or delay development of HCC.

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