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Increased risk for malignant neoplasms among patients with cirrhosis.

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  • Medicine


BACKGROUND & AIMS: It is not clear how cirrhosis affects the risks for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and non-HCC cancers, which are rare among these patients. We assessed the risk for malignant neoplasms in patients with cirrhosis. METHODS: Patients diagnosed with cirrhosis in Gothenburg, Sweden, from 1994 to 2005 were identified and linked to the National Cancer and Death registers. We studied data from 1019 patients with cirrhosis: 68% men, 48% with alcoholic liver disease (ALD), 10% with hepatitis C virus (HCV), and 12% with HCV + ALD. Standardized incidence ratios for malignant neoplasms were calculated (corrected for sex, age, and calendar year according to data from the general Swedish population). The follow-up period was 3290 person-years. RESULTS: Overall, 114 (11%) patients developed HCC; HCC occurred more frequently among patients with HCV than other diseases (P < .05). HCC risk did not differ among patients with HCV, with or without ALD (P > .05). Compared with the general population, cirrhotic patients had increased risk for HCC (26-fold); cholangiocarcinoma (13-fold); and esophageal (8-fold), pancreatic (5-fold), and colorectal and lung cancers (each 4-fold). The risk for cholangiocarcinoma increased mainly among patients with non-ALD cirrhosis, whereas the risk for extrahepatic malignancies increased mainly among patients with ALD and cirrhosis. CONCLUSIONS: The overall risk for non-HCC malignancies is more than 2-fold greater for patients with cirrhosis (mostly in biliary and gastrointestinal malignancies) than of the general population. The risk for non-HCC cancers differs between patients with ALD and non-ALD cirrhosis. The increased risk for HCC among patients with cirrhosis is associated with HCV; it is the same among patients with HCV, with or without ALD.

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