Increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma and mortality in chronic viral hepatitis with concurrent fatty liver

Concurrent fatty liver was associated with a significantly higher risk for HCC and all-cause mortality.

SummaryBackground

Population-based data are lacking regarding whether fatty liver is a risk factor for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and mortality in patients with chronic viral hepatitis.

Aim

To investigate the association of fatty liver with HCC incidence and mortality in patients with chronic viral hepatitis using a nationwide cohort

Methods

We included 57,385 patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB) or chronic hepatitis C (CHC) who underwent health examinations. The patients were divided into three groups: no fatty liver, fatty liver index (FLI) <30, grade 1 (G1) fatty liver: 30? FLI <60, and grade 2 (G2) fatty liver: FLI >60.

Results

During a median 8.4-year follow-up, we documented 3496 HCC cases and 4146 deaths. Compared to patients with no fatty liver (n = 35,018), the risk of HCC was significantly higher in patients with G1 fatty liver (n = 14,544) (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] = 1.50, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.38-1.64) and G2 fatty liver (n = 7,823) (aHR = 1.88, 95% CI = 1.67-2.12). The risk of mortality was significantly higher in patients with G1 fatty liver (aHR = 1.53, 95% CI = 1.41-1.66) and G2 fatty liver (aHR = 2.16, 95% CI = 1.94-2.42) compared to patients with no fatty liver.

Conclusions

Concurrent fatty liver was associated with a higher risk of HCC and mortality in patients with chronic viral hepatitis. Our results suggest the importance of management of fatty liver to reduce the risks of HCC and mortality in patients with chronic viral hepatitis.