Risk factors for hepatocellular carcinoma in India.

Research paper by Premashis P Kar

Indexed on: 11 Mar '15Published on: 11 Mar '15Published in: Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hepatology


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is an important cause of death all over the world, more so in Asia and Africa. The representative data on epidemiology of HCC in India is very scanty and cancer is not a reportable disease in India and the cancer registries in India are mostly urban. 45 million people who are suffering from chronic Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and approximately 15 million people who are afflicted with chronic Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in India. HBV and HCV infection is considered an important etiologic factor in HCC. Positive association between HCC and consumption of alcohol where alcohol contribute as a cofactor for hepatotoxins and hepatitis viruses. Aflatoxin contamination in the diets, Hepatitis B virus infection and liver cirrhosis in Andhra Pradesh, India and direct chronic exposure to aflatoxins was shown to cause liver cirrhosis. Cirrhosis of liver of any cause lead to develop about 70%-90% of HCC. Aflatoxin interact synergistically with Hepatitis B virus (HBV)/Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection which increase the risk of HCC. HBV infection, HBV infection with Aflatoxin exposure, viral infection and alcohol consumption leading to overt cirrhosis of the liver, alcohol consumption leading to cirrhosis of the liver with viral infection are the predominant risk factor for the development of HCC. HCV and alcohol are also associated with HCC in India. Indians develop diabetes at younger age, Asians have strong genetic susceptibility for type II diabetes. Diabetes mellitus is identified as a risk factor for HCC. Prevention of viral infection by universal vaccination against hepatitis virus, HCC surveillance program, preventing alcoholic liver diseases, fungal contamination of grains and ground crops to prevent basically Aflatoxin exposure are important measures to prevent liver diseases and HCC among those at risk.