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Liver Cancer Rates Increase in Developed Countries

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Primary liver cancer rates have continued to increase in developed countries and in elderly populations despite prevention efforts, according to a study results published in Cancer.

Researchers collected data from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017 and estimated the annual percentage changes in primary liver cancer agestandardized incidence rate (ASR) diagnosed by age, sex, region, and etiology.

From 1990 to 2017, the number of patients diagnosed with liver cancer at <30 years decreased from 17,381 to 14,661 but the number of patients diagnosed with liver cancer at age 30 to 59 and ≥60 years increased from 216,561 and 241,189 in 1990 to 359,770 and 578,344 in 2017, respectively.

Those ≥60 years at diagnosis and male had an increased ASR. Males diagnosed at age ≥60 years also had a more dramatic increase in primary cancer but a milder decrease in PLC diagnosed between 30 and 59 years of age. The researchers said this is likely due to the hepatitis B virus vaccination reducing the number of liver cancer cases caused by hepatitis B and hepatitis C

The authors concluded that although primary liver cancer incidence has been lower due to the control of hepatitis, “an unfavorable trend was observed in most developed countries and in elderly populations. As such, PLC prevention schedules should give more attention to NASH and elderly patients.

–Kelsey Moroz


Liu Z, Suo C, Mao X, et al. Global incidence trends in primary liver cancer by age at diagnosis, sex, region, and etiology, 1990‐2017. Cancer. 2020; https://doi.org/10.1002/cncr.32789


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