Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) Plays a Critical Role in Primary Biliary Cirrhosis

Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) Plays a Critical Role in Primary Biliary Cirrhosis

Due to its rarity, the impact of Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is usually underestimated, however new studies reveal that it plays a critical role in the development of the disease which may eventually lead to liver cancer.

PBC is a chronic ailment that affects many people all over the world and of late the number of individuals seeking treatment has been on the rise. It occurs when the bile ducts which are located in the liver get inflamed or infected and may eventually disappear. Bile which is a liquid produced inside the liver travels via the bile ducts and reaches the small intestines and the gallbladder where it aids in digesting fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, K, as well as normal fat. Once the bile ducts get damaged the bile will start oozing inside the liver and may damage the tissues.

Liver CirrhosisTreating primary biliary cirrhosis is usually a challenge because of limited knowledge or lack of effective diagnostics tools, many people realize they have it when it’s too late. Like most diseases, it is easier to manage it in its early stages as opposed to trying to treat it when it has reached critical levels.

A team of researchers from the United Kingdom embarked on the study that was aimed at analyzing the impact of HCC on primary biliary cirrhosis and how it may be contributing to the rising cases of PBC as well as cancer of the liver. The team focus was on the risk factors that were affecting patients who already had been diagnosed with PBC.

Led by Dr Gideon Hirschfield, the UK researchers carried out a risk analysis in more than 15 centres located in Europe and North America. The study which sampled 4565 patients afflicted by PBC 123 was based on 40 years of observation and relied on logistic regression, Cox proportional hazards assumptions, and Kaplan-Meier estimates.

Findings from the study indicated that PBC factors that influenced future development of HCC included male sex, advanced disease, elevated serum aspartate transaminase, hepatic decompensation, and thrombocytopenia. Dr Hirschfield and his colleges discovered that the rate of occurrence was 3 cases out of 1000 patient-years and that men were more susceptible to getting HCC.

The research team further found that not using ursodeoxycholic acid for treatment was not linked with development of cancer, and that non-response by biochemicals was the most significant factor in Primary Biliary Cirrhosis and indicated a future likelihood of developing HCC especially in the early and advanced stages.