Welcome to HCV Advocate’s hepatitis blog. The intent of this blog is to keep our website audience up-to-date on information about hepatitis and to answer some of our web site and training audience questions. People are encouraged to submit questions and post comments.

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Be sure to check out our other blogs: The HBV Advocate Blog and Hepatitis & Tattoos.

Alan Franciscus


HCV Advocate

Showing posts with label liver cancer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label liver cancer. Show all posts

Friday, November 6, 2015

Diabetes Thought to Increase Risk for Hepatic Cancer

A retroactive study presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting for the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) suggests that diabetes increases the risk for hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common form of liver cancer. The disease generally occurs secondary to hepatitis C infection or in cirrhosis from other causes.

The study authors used data from MarketScan, which is a database for insurance claims of all kinds. They found 7,473 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. The authors also included 22,110 controls matched for comorbidities, age, sex, and gender, leading to a 1-to-3 ratio of subjects to controls for 99% of the case subjects. The patients included in the case group had hepatocellular carcinoma with hepatitis C with DM, without DM, and DM alone. The study also looked at the impact of metabolic syndrome, hypertension, and dyslipidemia.


Monday, October 5, 2015

NYU Researchers Find Development of Serious Liver Damage in Mid- to Late-adulthood Among People Who Inject Drugs with Untreated Chronic Hepatitis C Infection

October 5, 2015
N-56 2015-16

Few people who inject drugs are engaged in needed care for chronic HCV infection; Early engagement in treatment needs to be a policy priority for these individuals

The Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a chronic blood-borne viral infection that affects an estimated 160 million people, or 2-3% of the population world-wide. Alarmingly, chronic HCV infection accounts for one-quarter of the cases of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). If HCV is left untreated, chronic liver disease will occur in 60–70% of the cases, cirrhosis in 5–20% of the cases, and 1–5% will die from decompensated cirrhosis or HCC.

In most high-income countries, such as the United States, where drug injection is the primary route of HCV transmission, the disease is concentrated among people who inject drugs (PWID). While it is estimated that 50–80% of PWID are chronically infected, fewer than 5% of PWID have received treatment.

In a new study, “Hepatitis C virus (HCV) disease progression in people who inject drugs (PWID): A systematic review and meta-analysis,” published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, a team of researchers from New York University’s Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR) assessed existing data on the natural history of HCV among PWID. A total of twenty-one studies examined over 8500 PWID, who contributed nearly 120,000 person-years at risk, for the study of four major HCV-related outcomes included in the synthesis.

Read more....

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Five: Coffee —Alan Franciscus, Editor-in-Chief

In celebration of National Coffee Day.....but remember adding a bunch of sugar and cream most likely eliminates the benefits! Alan

For some people that morning cup of Joe is the perfect way to start the day.   Surprisingly, there are many published studies that show that caffeinated coffee can improve the health of the liver and provide other health benefits.  There are some caveats to these health claims that I will discuss at the end of this article.  First let’s talk about the good news—the possible health benefits:

1. Liver Fibrosis / HCV Disease Progression:  
In a review of 177 patients—121 patients with HCV who drank about 2 ¼ cups of coffee a day were found to have reduced levels of liver fibrosis.  The results were only found in those who drank caffeinated coffee.

In another review, 766 participants in the Hepatitis C Antiviral Long-Term Treatment against Cirrhosis (HALT-C) trial found more good news.  Those who had hepatitis C-related bridging fibrosis or cirrhosis on a liver biopsy and who failed to achieve a cure after being treated with pegylated interferon and ribavirin therapy also yielded some surprising results.  Those with advanced liver disease who regularly consumed coffee were found to have lower rates of HCV disease progression.

2. Liver Cancer: 
A small study found that people who drank one to three cups of coffee a day had a 29% lower risk of developing liver cancer compared to those who drank 6 cups or less a week.

Another study which reviewed 16 different studies involving over 3,200 patients found that drinking more than 3 cups of coffee a day might cut the risk of liver cancer by up to 50%.

3. Other Conditions:  
There are many studies that show a link between the reduction or prevention of certain types of cancers and drinking caffeinated coffee (skin, breast, colon, prostate, uterine, oral).  There are also studies that show that caffeinated coffee can lower the risk of diabetes and death.

4. The Downside: 
Now, I am going to burst the bubble!  Coffee, specifically caffeine, is a drug (a stimulant).  Moreover, with any drug you can have withdrawal: It can take more than eight weeks to withdraw entirely from caffeine—although, caffeine withdrawal is usually just an annoying headache and some light fatigue.
Drinking or consuming caffeine can raise blood pressure, lead to heart arrhythmia (irregular heartbeats), can cause cramps, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal health issues.  If you drink it too close to bedtime, it can cause insomnia.  Too much caffeine can cause depression, anxiety and other types of nervous behaviors.    Although rare there have been serious health consequences from people drinking energy drinks and shots.

Examples of the typical amount of caffeine:*

  • Coffee – 100 mg per cup
  • Tea – 14 mg to 60 mg per cup
  • Chocolate – 45 mg in 1.5 oz bar
  • Most colas (unless they are labeled “caffeine-free”) – 45 mg in 12 oz. drink
  • Candies, energy drinks, snacks, gum – 40-100 mg per serving

*http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ ency/article/002445.htm

There are many other side effects of caffeine, but I will stop here.  However, for most people caffeine in moderation is safe and well-tolerated!

5. Final Thoughts:  
What does all of this mean?   It is hard to draw concrete conclusions from these studies because you cannot measure what people drink, how it is made and what chemicals are in the coffee.  However, there must be something in caffeinated coffee that is contributing to all of these positive outcomes.  There are over 1,000 natural chemicals in coffee, and some of these chemicals may be contributing to the caffeine and providing these benefits.  Scientists are studying the various chemicals, and we may soon have more concrete information that may lead the way to more potent medications to treat many conditions.  In the meantime, it could not hurt to have a cup of Joe—that is if your health allows it.