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Diabetes Identified as Risk Factor for Liver Cancer Across Ethnic Groups

Risk is highest for Latinos (December 8)

Diabetes is associated with an increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma, and this association is highest for Latinos, followed by Hawaiians, African-Americans, and Japanese-Americans, according to results presented at the Sixth American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved, held Dec. 6–9 in Atlanta, Georgia.

“People with diabetes have a two- to three-fold higher risk for hepatocellular carcinoma compared with those without diabetes,” said lead investigator V. Wendy Setiawan, PhD, of the University of Southern California. “We also found that the interethnic differences in the prevalence of diabetes were consistent with the pattern of hepatocellular carcinoma incidence observed across ethnicities: Ethnic groups with a high prevalence of diabetes also have high hepatocellular carcinoma rates, and those with a lower prevalence of diabetes have lower hepatocellular carcinoma rates.”

Setiawan and her colleagues examined whether the association between diabetes and hepatocellular carcinoma differed by race or ethnic group. They analyzed data from more than 150,000 people enrolled in the Multiethnic Cohort Study between 1993 and 1996. During the study follow-up period of approximately 15 years, 506 cases of hepatocellular carcinoma were reported: 59 cases in non-Hispanic Caucasians, 81 in African-Americans, 33 in Hawaiians, 158 in Japanese-Americans, and 175 in Latinos.

Compared with non-Hispanic Caucasians, Latinos had 2.77 times the risk of being diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma — the highest risk identified. Native Hawaiians had 2.48 times the risk; African-Americans, 2.16; and Japanese-Americans, 2.07.

The prevalence of diabetes was consistent with that of hepatocellular carcinoma. Sixteen percent of Hawaiians, 15% of Latinos and African-Americans, 10% of Japanese-Americans, and 6% of non-Hispanic Caucasians had diabetes. Compared with those without diabetes, Latinos with diabetes had a 3.3-fold higher risk for hepatocellular carcinoma; Hawaiians, a 2.33-fold higher risk; Japanese-Americans, a 2.02-fold higher risk; African-Americans, a 2.02-fold higher risk; and non-Hispanic Caucasians, a 2.17-fold higher risk.

Source: AACR; December 8, 2013.

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