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Eur J Cancer. 2008 Apr;44(6):847-53. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2008.01.025. Epub 2008 Mar 4.

Epidemiology of viral hepatitis infections in an area of southern Italy with high incidence rates of liver cancer.

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Registro Tumori della Regione Campania, ASL NA4 Brusciano, Naples, Italy.


Southern Italy shows the highest rates of liver cancer for Europe, mainly related to infection with hepatitis viruses. We thus described incidence rates of liver cancer and investigated prevalence and determinants of HCV and HBV infections in 4496 individuals randomly selected from the general population of the province of Naples. 7.5% was infected with HCV and 27.6% with HBV (2.2% was HBsAg-positive). Prevalence of both infections increased with age, 23.2% of those aged 65 years or older was HCV-positive and 47.9% were HBV-positive. Intravenous drug use (odds ratio (OR)=16.4 for anti-HCV and 4.7 for anti-HBc), history of blood transfusions (OR=2.8 and 1.5, respectively) and surgery, and household contacts with infected people (OR=2.1 and 1.6, respectively) increased risks for both infections. Sexual intercourse with HCV-positive individuals conveyed a 3-fold higher risk of HCV infection. This study quantified the spread of HCV and HBV in the population of southern Italy heavily affected by liver cancer.

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