Primary liver cancer incidence increased by 75% between 1990 and 2015, and the disease remains one of the leading causes of cancer death in the world, according to a report from the Global Burden of Diseases Study 2015.

Further, hepatitis B virus was the leading cause of new cases of liver cancer in 2015, the research showed.

The highest rates of liver cancer incidence, disability-adjusted life-years and mortality occurred in East Asia. Japan had 75% of incident cases, of which 67% were related to HCV.

Researchers noted substantial variation between countries in underlying etiologies.

For instance, HBV was the least common cause of liver cancer death in Southern Latin America (6%) and the most common in Western sub-Saharan Africa and Andean Latin America (45%). HCV was the least common cause in East Asia (9%) and most common in high-income Asia Pacific (55%). Also, alcohol contributed to the fewest cases in North Africa and the Middle East (13%) and the most in Eastern Europe (53%).

Men demonstrated greater rates of liver cancer prevalence (591,000 vs. 265,000), mortality (577,000 vs. 234,000) and disability-adjusted life-years (15,413,000 vs. 5,165,000). HBV led to more incident cases among men (203,000; 95% uncertainty interval [UI], 171,000-251,000) than woman (70,000; 95% UI, 57,000-86,000).

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