JOURNAL ARTICLE

Risk factors for hepatocellular carcinoma by age, sex, and liver disorder status: A prospective cohort study in Korea

Sang-Wook Yi, Ja-Sung Choi, Jee-Jeon Yi, Yong-Ho Lee, Ki Jun Han
Cancer 2018 July 1, 124 (13): 2748-2757
29669170

BACKGROUND: To the authors' knowledge, relatively little is known regarding the interaction of risk factors for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with age, sex, and liver disorder status.

METHODS: The authors followed 504,646 Korean patients aged 40 to 80 years who underwent routine health checkups between 2002 and 2003 until 2013 via linkage to national hospital discharge records.

RESULTS: HCC occurred in 2744 individuals. In the sex-adjusted and age-adjusted analysis, cirrhosis increased the incidence of HCC by 42-fold, followed by hepatitis B virus (21-fold), hepatitis C virus (HCV; 19-fold), male sex (4.3-fold), and each 5-year age increment (1.24-fold). In the multivariable adjusted analysis, diabetes increased the risk of HCC by 80%, alcohol consumption ≥80 g/day increased the risk by 75%, alcohol consumption of 40 to 79 g/day increased the risk by 37%, and being a current smoker increased the risk by 25%. The multivariable adjusted hazard ratios of male sex and HCV were 6.27 and 5.72, respectively, at age <50 years, but were 2.09 and 22.51, respectively, at age ≥70 years. Each 20 g/day of alcohol consumption increased the risk of HCC by 6% (P = .11), 8% (P = .02), 16% (P<.001), and 30% (P<.001), respectively, in individuals aged <50 years, 50 to 59 years, 60 to 69 years, and 70 to 80 years. In individuals without a liver disorder, body mass index was found to be positively associated with HCC, whereas patients with a liver disorder demonstrated an inverse association. Women had higher adjusted hazard ratios associated with age and cirrhosis compared with men.

CONCLUSIONS: With advancing age, the effects of alcohol use and HCV on the development of HCC become stronger, whereas the effect of male sex weakens. Lifetime moderate alcohol consumption may cause HCC in the elderly. Smoking increases the risk of HCC irrespective of viral hepatitis, and diabetes increases the risk of HCC independent of cirrhosis. Cancer 2018;124:2748-2757. © 2018 American Cancer Society.

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