HBF is pleased to connect our blog readers to Christine Kukka’s monthly HBV Journal Review that she writes for the HBV Advocate. The journal presents the latest in hepatitis B research, treatment, and prevention from recent academic and medical journals. This month, the following topics are explored:
- HBV Liver Cancer Requires Aggressive Treatment from the Start
- Experts: Treat Cirrhotic Patients, Even if Viral Load Is Low
- Some Patients Can Safely Stop Antiviral After Four Years
- Tenofovir Safe and Effective in Pregnant Women with Drug Resistance
- Researchers Discover Why Children Become Chronically Infected
- Expert Recommends Treatment for Mental Confusion from Cirrhosis
- Antivirals Increase Survival After Liver Cancer Treatment
- HBV Patients with Diabetes Have a Higher Risk of Liver Cancer
- Long-term Antiviral Use Increases Hip Fracture Rates Slightly
- Second Vaccine Series May Be Needed for Children with Celiac Disease
- Researchers Find HBV B Strain in Cuba Did Not Come from Africa
June 1, 2015
Volume 12, No 6
by Christine M. Kukka
HBV Liver Cancer Requires Aggressive Treatment from the Start
Today, doctors use a one-size-fits-all approach to treating liver cancer no matter if it results from hepatitis B or C. However, a new study finds that liver cancer caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) requires an aggressive treatment plan.
These findings, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in May, may lead doctors to develop a more accelerated treatment plan for HBV-related liver cancer.
Researchers reached this conclusion after monitoring disease progression and survival rates in 815 liver cancer patients infected with either HBV or the hepatitis C virus (HCV) treated at their University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center between 1992 and 2011.
HBV (a DNA virus) and HCV (an RNA virus) infect the liver differently. The researchers found HBV patients developed liver cancer at a younger age and had a more aggressive cancer.
When compared to hepatitis C patients, HBV patients:
- Had higher levels of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), found through a blood test, which indicates the presence of tumors
- Had liver cancer tumors that grew and spread more quickly
- Had larger tumors
- And often had portal thrombosis–a blockage of the vessel that delivers blood to the liver from the intestines.
However, hepatitis C patients with liver cancer had higher rates of cirrhosis, histories of alcohol and cigarette use and more diabetes than hepatitis B patients.
The average survival rate for hepatitis B patients was 9.3 months after liver cancer diagnosis, compared to 10.9-month survival for hepatitis C patients.
According to a related editorial published in the medical journal Oncology, about 700,000 patients are diagnosed with liver cancer each year worldwide; more than two-thirds of new cases result from HBV infection.
Knowing HBV-related liver cancer is more aggressive can lead to different or accelerated treatment plans when patients are first diagnosed, the study’s experts suggest.
“This study provides more evidence that future clinical trials should stratify patients by hepatitis type to help identify better drugs and create personalized treatment modalities,” researcher Ahmed Kaseb explained.
Experts: Treat Cirrhotic Patients, Even if Viral Load Is Low
Should “healthy” patients who have cirrhosis with low viral load and no signs of liver damage be treated? Absolutely, according to experts writing in the May issue of the medical journal Hepatology.