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Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2012;13(8):3663-7.

Why is hepatocellular carcinoma less attributable to viral hepatitis in Yemen?

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  • 1National Oncology Centre, Sana'a, Yemen.


The hepatitis B virus (HBV) and the hepatitis C virus (HCV) are still public health problems in Yemen, with older individuals having much higher prevalence than younger generations. However, research on the prevalence of viral hepatitis in association with hepatocellular cancer (HCC) has not yet been undertaken in Yemen. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of HBV and HCV infection among HCC patients and to estimate the risk of these infections being associated with the development of HCC. A cross-sectional study was conducted on patients attending oncology outpatient in Sana'a, Yemen, through the period 2008-mid 2010 with confirmed diagnosis of HCC. A total of 88 cases were studied thoroughly with different investigations such as CT-scan, ultrasound, tumour marker, alpha-feto-protein and histopathological biopsy. A structured questionnaire was also applied and physical examination done to assess the general condition of the patients. Statistical package (SPSS version 16) was used for analysis of the data. The mean age of the cases was 61.2 years (± 12.6) with half over 60 years. There were fewer male patients (36%) compared to females and most (97%) only had basic /no formal education. Seventy nine (89%) were diagnosed as HCC cases with histopathological biopsy while the rest were diagnosed by ultrasound, CT scan, tumour marker, and alpha-feto-protein. Around one-third of the subjects were positive for HBsAg and HCV antibodies. Multivariate analysis showed infection with HCV and use of smoking was associated with HCC diagnosis. Although an association was observed between the occurrence of HCC and viral hepatitis (either HBV or HCV) and cigarette smoking, but the rate of viral infection was lower than what has been reported elsewhere.

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