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World J Gastroenterol. 2013 Jul 14;19(26):4234-41. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v19.i26.4234.

Hepatitis B or C viral infection and risk of pancreatic cancer: a meta-analysis of observational studies.

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Department of Pathogen Biology, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou 510515, Guangdong Province, China.



To investigate if there is an association between hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and the risk of pancreatic cancer.


All relevant studies published before 11 October, 2012 were identified by a systematic search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, BIOSIS Previews and the Cochrane Library databases and with cross-referencing. The observational studies that reported RR or OR estimates with 95%CIs for the association between HBV or HCV and pancreatic cancer were included. A random-effects model was used to summarize meta-analytic estimates. The Newcastle-Ottawa quality assessment scale was applied to assess the quality of the methodology in the included studies.


A total of 8 eligible studies were selected for meta-analysis. Overall, chronic hepatitis B and inactive hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) carrier state (HBsAg positive) had a significantly increased risk of pancreatic cancer with OR of 1.20 (95%CI: 1.01-1.39), especially in the Chinese population (OR = 1.30, 95%CI: 1.05-1.56). Past exposure to HBV (possible occult HBV infection) had an increased OR of pancreatic cancer risk (OR = 1.24, 95%CI: 1.05-1.42), especially among those patients without natural immunity [anti hepatitis B core (HBc) positive/hepatitis B surface antibody (anti HBs) negative], with OR of 1.67 (95%CI: 1.13-2.22). However, past exposure to HBV with natural immunity (anti-HBc positive/anti-HBs positive) had no association with pancreatic cancer development, with OR 0.98 (95%CI: 0.80-1.16), nor did the HBV active replication (hepatitis B e antigen positive status), with OR 0.98 (95%CI: 0.27-1.68). The risk of pancreatic cancer among anti-HBs positive patients was significantly lower than among anti-HBs negative patients (OR = 0.54, 95%CI: 0.46-0.62). Past exposure to HCV also resulted in an increased risk of pancreatic cancer (OR = 1.26, 95%CI: 1.03-1.50). Significant between-study heterogeneity was observed. Evidence of publication bias for HBV/HCV infection-pancreatic cancer association was not found.


Chronic HBV and HCV infection increases pancreatic cancer risk. Our findings underscore the need for more studies to confirm this potential relationship.


Hepatitis B; Hepatitis C; Meta-analysis; Observational studies; Pancreatic cancer

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