(HealthDay News) — Across racial/ethnic groups, diabetes is associated with an increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), with the highest risk seen for Latinos, according to a study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research’s Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved, held from Dec. 6 to 9 in Atlanta.

Veronica Wendy Setiawan, Ph.D., from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues examined the correlation between HCC and diabetes in a prospective analysis involving 169,479 African-American, Native Hawaiian, Japanese-American, Latino, and white men and women who were recruited from 1993 to 1996 into the Multiethnic Cohort Study and followed for a median of 15.7 years.

The researchers found that, across the racial/ethnic groups, the incidence rates of HCC differed markedly, with age-adjusted relative risks of 2.77 for Latinos, 2.48 for Native Hawaiians, 2.16 for African-Americans, and 2.07 for Japanese-Americans, compared to whites. In all ethnic groups, diabetes was strongly associated with HCC risk, with relative risks of 3.33 in Latinos, 2.54 in Hawaiians, 2.33 in Japanese-Americans, 2.02 in African-Americans, and 2.17 in whites. The diabetes-HCC association was not modified by body mass index, smoking status, or alcohol intake (P ≥ 0.19). Diabetes accounted for an estimated 26 percent of HCC cases in Latinos, 20 percent in Hawaiians, 13 percent in African-Americans, 12 percent in Japanese-Americans, and 6 percent in whites.

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“People with diabetes should be aware that their condition is associated with a higher risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma,” Setiawan said in a statement.

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