New data presented today at the International Liver CongressTM 2010 found a link between chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) and progression to cancers other than hepatocellular carcinoma.
The study found that a higher risk of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) and Cholangiocarcinoma was associated with HBV infection in the presence of higher levels of viral replication.
The data could indicate a causal effect for HBV infection and if proven to be the case in further trials, the benefits of a vaccine against and treatment of HBV will extend beyond reduction in hepatocellular carcinoma.
Worldwide, more than 350 million people are persistently infected with HBV and chronic HBV causes about 1 million deaths each year.
NHL is any of a large group of cancers of the lymphoid system (white blood cells) that can occur at any age. About 80% of all lymphomas diagnosed are NHL and NHL account for 4% of all cancers in the UK.
Cholangiocarcinoma is a cancer of the bile duct cells with no medical treatment except surgery. It is relatively rare with an annual incidence of 1???? cases per 100,000 in the Western world, although rates are increasing.