Map of Pancreatica Walks and Runs

Hepatitis as a Risk Factor for Cancer of the Pancreas

A number of “odd’ or non-intuitive relationships between “apparently” unrelated variables and pancreatic cancer are beginning to emerge – including ABO blood status and now some forms of hepatitis.

In the World Journal of Gastroenterology from July 14, 2013, Chen and colleagues from the Southern Medical University, in Guangzhou, China report a meta-analysis of a world review of the medical literature on the relationship between infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and the hepatitis C virus (HCV) AND pancreatic cancer. Using their developed criteria, they found eight studies that were eligible for inclusion in their analysis pool.

The researchers found a small but statistically significant association between chronic HBV and HCV infections and the risk of developing adenocarcinoma of the pancreas. The odds ratio for a patient’s status of the presence of inactive hepatitis surface antigen (HBsAg) and for chronic hepatitis B exposure was 1.2 at a 95% confidence interval – with Chinese patients appearing even somewhat higher (1.3). And the odds ratio for past exposure to the hepatitis C virus was somewhat similar at 1.26. The authors indicate that there is no evidence of publication bias in these associations.

It is not entirely clear what these findings mean. But finding association between pancreatic cancer and possible acute (or chronic?) triggers moves the science further along the cutting edge of understanding.

More here

Dale O’Brien, MD

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