The Role of Hepatitis C in Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Case Control Study Among Egyptian Patients

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Abstract

Background

Egypt has one of the highest prevalence rates of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in the world; however, the risk and attribution related to HCV in Egyptian patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains unknown.

Goals

The current study was undertaken to estimate the risk of HCC in relation to HCV in Egypt.

Study

Thirty-three patients with HCC and 35 healthy controls who had a similar socioeconomic status were prospectively enrolled at the University of Cairo National Cancer Institute.

Results

Anti-HCV antibodies were present in 75.8% of the patients and in 42.9% of the controls (p = 0.01); hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) was present in 15.2% of the patients and in 2.9% of the controls (p = 0.03). In addition, the sex-and age-adjusted odds ratio (OR) for anti-HCV antibodies was 5.1 (95% CI = 1.5–17.4) and for HBsAg was 13.2 (95% CI = 1.2–148.2). Concurrent Schistosoma mansoni and anti-HCV was associated with an OR of 10.3 (95% CI = 1.3–79.8), which was higher than that for anti-HCV (6.5; 95% CI = 1.6–26.6) and S. mansoni infection (0.2; 95% CI = 0.1–6.2) alone. Finally, we estimated the attributable fraction of HCC to HCV to be 64% in this study population and 48% in the general Egyptian population.

Conclusions

Both HCV and hepatitis B virus infection increase the risk of HCC in Egyptian patients, whereas isolated Schistosoma infection does not. Because of the very high prevalence rate of HCV in the general Egyptian population, it accounts for most HCC cases in Egypt.

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