Epidemiological and etiological variations in hepatocellular carcinoma.

Research paper by Evangelista E Sagnelli, Margherita M Macera, Antonio A Russo, Nicola N Coppola, Caterina C Sagnelli

Indexed on: 30 Jul '19Published on: 28 Jul '19Published in: Infection


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most prevalent form of liver cancer and a leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. The major risk factors for HCC development are chronic liver disease and cirrhosis due to hepatitis B virus (HBV) and/or hepatitis C virus (HCV), alcoholic liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), steatohepatitis, intake of aflatoxin-contaminated food, diabetes, and obesity. In Western countries, the number of NASH-related HCC cases is increasing, that of HBV- or HCV-related cases is declining due to the wide application of HBV universal vaccination and the introduction of effective therapies against HBV and HCV infections, and that of alcohol-related cases remaining substantially unchanged. Nevertheless, the burden of HCC is expected to increase worldwide in the next few decades, due to the population growth and aging expected in coming years. Overall, the abovementioned changes and future variations in lifestyle and in the impact of environmental factors in Western countries and a decreasing exposure to dietary aflatoxins and improved socio-economic conditions in developing countries will create new HCC epidemiology in the next few decades. A substantial further reduction in cases of HCC requires a wider application of universal HBV vaccination and effective treatment of HBV- and HCV-related chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis, more effective campaigns to favor correct dietary habits and reduce alcohol consumption and the intensification of studies on HCC pathogenesis for future optimized prevention strategies.