Pancreatic cancer occurred more often in people with
hepatitis C or HIV in Canada’s British Columbia Hepatitis Testers Cohort, and
colorectal cancer was more likely to occur in people diagnosed with hepatitis B
or C, or HIV, cohort investigators report in the journal Therapeutic
Advances in Medical Oncology.
The study also found an increased risk of liver cancer in
people diagnosed with viral hepatitis, including those living with HIV.
People with hepatitis B or C are at higher risk of
developing of liver cancer and there is some evidence that viral hepatitis
raises the risk of developing several other cancers, including colorectal
cancer. HIV infection is also associated with an increased risk of some
cancers, but it is unclear whether co-infection with HIV and hepatitis B or C
increases the risk of developing cancers.
The British Columbia Hepatitis Testers Cohort records data
on almost everyone tested for hepatitis or HIV in the Canadian province of
British Columbia since 1990. Test results can be linked with the provincial
cancer registry, allowing investigators to assess the incidence of cancers in
people diagnosed with hepatitis B and C or HIV, and compare them to people with
similar risk factors for these infections who tested negative for the viruses.
Between 1990 and 2016, 658,697 people were tested in the
province for all three infections; 5.3% tested positive for hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibodies,
2.6% positive for hepatitis B virus (HBV) and 0.7% positive for HIV. Of the overall cohort, 0.5%
were co-infected with HCV and HBV, 0.4% with HIV and HCV and 0.1% with HIV and
HBV. Testers were followed for a median of eleven years after testing.