Antiviral therapy may prevent liver cancer in hepatitis B patients

Researchers have found that antiviral therapy may be successful in preventing hepatitis B virus from developing into the most common form of liver cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

That was the finding of a study published in the May issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Investigators from Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pa., and Kaiser Permanente in Honolulu, Hawaii and Portland, Ore. participated in the study, along with investigators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

According to the first-of-its-kind analysis of more than 2,600 adult participants with B, those treated with antiviral therapy had a significantly lower occurrence of HCC during a five-year follow up period. Overall, 3 percent of patients developed HCC during the study's timeframe. But patients who received antiviral therapy were 60 percent less likely to develop HCC than untreated patients.

"The results of this study allow us to reassure our patients that we are not just treating their viral levels, but that antiviral therapy may actually lessen their chance of developing ," said the study's lead investigator, Henry Ford Health System's Stuart C. Gordon, M.D., who worked closely with Henry Ford Senior Scientist Mei Lu in Detroit.

HCC accounts for the most liver cancers in the United States, typically occurs in people age 50 or older and is more common in men. If the cancer cannot be removed, it is usually fatal in three to six months. In most cases, HCC is caused by scarring in the liver – cirrhosis – which can be a result of alcohol abuse, hepatitis B or C, chronic inflammation of the liver or an iron overload.

"This study was one of the first to address antiviral therapy and its efficacy in preventing hepatitis B from developing into liver cancer," said Joseph Boscarino, Ph.D., senior scientist and investigator for the Geisinger site. "With this information, clinicians can begin to prescribe for hepatitis B with the goal of preventing a common and dangerous form of cancer."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Vitamin D protects against liver cancer in European study

Jun 09, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—Vitamin D has been shown to play an important role in liver function. Now a new study in Western Europeans shows that vitamin D lowers the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), ...

Recommended for you

Ebola death toll rises to 5,459: WHO

26 minutes ago

The World Health Organization said Friday that 5,459 people had so far died of Ebola out of a total 15,351 cases of infection in eight countries since late December 2013.

Flu season off to a slow start ... for now

3 hours ago

(HealthDay)—This year's flu season is off to a slow but detectable start. And it appears to be a typical one that's likely to peak in January or February, a leading U.S. health official says.

Update on new treatments for liver diseases

4 hours ago

Cirrhosis and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are two serious liver conditions with limited pharmacological treatments. The December issues of AGA's journals—Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology and Gastro ...

Amateur photographers aid in remote skin sore trial

5 hours ago

Paediatric infectious disease specialists are bringing novel skin sore research methods to WA in the form of a protocol allowing non-professional photographers to capture high-quality images of skin sores ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.