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Eur J Epidemiol. 1994 Jun;10(3):251-7.

A strong negative association between alcohol consumption and the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma in cirrhotic patients. A case-control study.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Hospital Mauriziano Umberto I, Torino, Italy.


We carried out a hospital-based, case-control study to assess the association of both the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) infection and the lifetime daily alcohol intake with the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients with liver cirrhosis (LC). Cases were 62 consecutive inpatients of a Gastroenterology Division in whom a first diagnosis of HCC superimposed on LC was made. Two control groups were used: 310 patients without liver disease, matched 1:5 with cases and randomly selected from inpatients of the same hospital, and 97 consecutive asymptomatic inpatients in whom the first diagnosis of LC was made. Alcohol intake was quantified in all subjects by a standardized questionnaire. HBV infection was associated with HCC development in cirrhotics (odds ratio = 6.8; 95% confidence interval = 1.4-32.3), whereas we observed a trend towards a decreased HCC risk at increased alcohol intake values (odds ratio from 1 for lifetime abstainers to 0.2 for drinkers of 175 g/day or more). Our results suggest that alcohol intake is not a direct determinant of HCC, but its role is mediated by LC. Cirrhotics with high alcohol intake do not usually survive long enough to develop HCC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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