Long-Term Oral Treatment May Cause Certain Cancers in Hepatitis B Patients

Possible link found between an antiviral treatment for HBV and an increased risk of colorectal and cervical cancers.

Patients receiving long-term treatment with oral nucleos(t)ide analogue for hepatitis B virus (HBV) have a higher risk of developing colorectal and cervical cancer, a recent study found.

This study evaluated 45,299 patients diagnosed with HBV. There were 7323 patients who already received nucleos(t)ide analogue treatment.

The two groups studied were patients who have not received treatment and those who had received nucleos(t)ide analogue treatment.

Researchers followed up with both groups after 4.4 years and 7 years. Data was collected from the 4.4 year median follow up.

After 4.4 years, malignancies occurred in 538 (2.1%) patients from the untreated group.

In the group who received nucleos(t)ide analogue therapy, malignancies occurred in 274 (5.7%) patients.

Patients treated with nucleos(t)ide analogue therapy were shown to have higher risks of colorectal cancer (adjusted Hazard Ratio (aHR) 2.17, 95% Confidence Interval (Cl) 1.08-4.36, p=0.029) and cervical cancer (aHR 4.41, 95% Cl 1.01-19.34, p=0.049).

Researchers found that after 4.4 years, both groups had similar risks of developing other malignancies, including lung and pleural cancers, breast cancer, and renal conditions.

"This large-scale study determines an important link between nucleos(t)ide analogue treatment and cervical and colorectal cancer," said Tom Hemming Karlsen, MD, PhD, EASL Vice-Secretary. "The results are important and could change cancer surveillance and management of patients treated for hepatitis B."