Chronic infections due to hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses are responsible for most cases of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) worldwide, and this association is likely to remain during the next decade. Moreover, viral hepatitis-related HCC imposes an important burden on public health in terms of disability-adjusted life years. In order to reduce such a burden, some major challenges must be faced. Universal vaccination against hepatitis B virus, especially in the neonatal period, is probably the most relevant primary preventive measure against the development of HCC. Moreover, considering the large adult population already infected with hepatitis B and C viruses, it is also imperative to identify these individuals to ensure their access to treatment. Both hepatitis B and C currently have highly effective therapies, which are able to diminish the risk of development of liver cancer. Finally, it is essential for individuals at high-risk of HCC to be included in surveillance programs, so that tumors are detected at an early stage. Patients with hepatitis B or C and advanced liver fibrosis or cirrhosis benefit from being followed in a surveillance program. As hepatitis B virus is oncogenic and capable of leading to liver cancer even in individuals with early stages of liver fibrosis, other high-risk groups of patients with hepatitis B are also candidates for surveillance. Considerable effort is required concerning these strategies in order to decrease the incidence and the mortality of viral hepatitis-related HCC.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Supported by European-Latin American ESCALON Consortium, funded by the EU Horizon 2020 Program, No. 825510; and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program (to Debes JD).
© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
- Hepatitis B virus
- Hepatitis C virus
- Hepatocellular carcinoma
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article