6. What is the connection between HBV and liver cancer?
Now basically I think when Molli asked me to
talk about this and gave me the title “Making the Link” I thought well
this is actually the person who should be giving the talk, because it
was Dr. Beasley and his team of investigators in Taiwan who really
made the connection between hepatitis B and liver cancer. I had the pleasure of actually giving a talk
with him recently at Harvard in a Jade forum organized by the
Hepatitis B Initiative in Boston. I also had the pleasure of meeting
Dr. Tom London who did a lot of work to find an association and
genetic factors associated with chronic hepatitis B and liver
cancer. So it was Dr. Beasley that at a time, back
in the 70’s when a lot of people thought Aflatoxin was the substance
which caused liver cancer. Aflatoxin is a substance that could be
produced in moldy peanuts so all of the sudden in China, everybody
said don’t use peanut oil to cook because of this concern, right?
But actually it was him in the study and
his colleagues in Taiwan who conducted a study of 22,000 government
workers in Taipei and found that the risk of liver cancer is sixty
times higher in chronic hep B infected patients, which a lot of people
don’t realize. This association is much higher than the
association between lung cancer and smoking. And what he calculated is
if you have chronic hepatitis B, especially those who acquire it
during birth or early childhood, the lifetime risk of dying from liver
cancer is forty percent in men and fifteen percent in women.
So that is why when we say you have chronic
hepatitis B, you have a twenty-five percent chance of dying from
hepatitis, you know liver cancer or liver cirrhosis, because if you
average it out, it is about twenty-five percent. So actually the risk
is even higher in men.
5. Why do Asians have high rates of HBV?
7. Is there evidence that chronic HBV causes liver cancer?