Hepatitis B virus (HBV) treatment is confirmed an effective way to reduce liver cancer incidence, according to a study by the University of Hong Kong which made the results public on Thursday.
The university's research team obtained 14-year (from 1999 to 2012) HBV treatment data in specialist out-patient clinics in Hong Kong and statistically studied the effect of HBV treatment on liver cancer trends.
It is found that HBV treatment is associated with a reduction in overall liver cancer incidence, and the effect is the most obvious among the age group of 55-64 years.
The liver cancer incidence is reduced by 24 percent among men who received HBV treatment in the age group of 55-64 years and reduced by 8.5 percent among women who received HBV treatment in the same age group.
This could be explained by a high treatment prescription rate and high clinic attendance rate among this age group, the researchers said.
The preventive effect of HBV treatment in the elderly age group (over 65 years) is diminished. This might be because drug prescription rates and clinic attendance rates among the elderly population are lower.
Generally speaking, Hepatitis B can be monitored through regular check-up if the level of activity of HBV is low. If the HBV level of activity is high and elevated liver enzymes occur, HBV treatment may be considered.
The study confirmed the effectiveness of HBV treatment in reducing the burden of liver cancer. The university encourages HBV-infected patients to receive long-term follow-up and receive treatment when necessary.
Richard Yuen Man-fung, chair professor of gastroenterology and hepatology of the university's medical department, said that the study confirmed HBV treatment can reduce liver cancer incidence rate. "Through strengthened community outreach, there will be a better control in liver cancer incidence in Hong Kong."