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Hepatol Res. 2008 Sep;38(9):860-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1872-034X.2008.00355.x. Epub 2008 May 27.

Does a late evening meal reduce the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma among patients with chronic hepatitis C?

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Department of Public Health, Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka, Japan.



Some studies have suggested that nutritional support might protect against the recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) among postoperative HCC patients. However, no epidemiological studies have evaluated the effect of nutritional support on HCC incidence. This study aimed to investigate the association between a late evening meal and HCC.


We conducted a hospital-based, case-control study comparing 73 cases with HCC to 253 matched controls among patients with chronic hepatitis C. A questionnaire elicited information on the consumption of a late evening meal, which was defined as a snack or meal within 2 h before bedtime. The odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated by the conditional logistic regression model.


After adjustment for potential confounders, patients who consumed a late evening meal had a lower OR as compared to those who did not consume one (OR, 0.08; 95% CI, 0.01-0.48). In terms of frequency of intake, a clear inverse exposure-response relationship was observed (trend P = 0.009). In addition, a negative association between a late evening meal and HCC was more pronounced among patients with an alpha-fetoprotein level of less than 20 ng/mL and those with a body mass index of less than 25 kg/m(2).


A late evening meal might protect against HCC, particularly among patients with a normal alpha-fetoprotein level and who are not obese, although these relations might be accounted for other factors, including total energy intake. Further studies with larger study sizes are needed to corroborate these findings.

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