The CDC reported last week in the May 7, 2010 MMR a significant increase in the incidence of cases of HCC in the U.S. over the study period from 2001-2006.
To determine trends in HCC incidence in the United States, CDC analyzed data for the period 2001--2006 (the most recent data available) from CDC's National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) and the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) surveillance system. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which determined that the average annual incidence rate of HCC for 2001--2006 was 3.0 per 100,000 persons and increased significantly from 2.7 per 100,000 persons in 2001 to 3.2 in 2006, with an average annual percentage change in incidence rate (APC) of 3.5%.
The incidence rate for males (5.0 per 100,000 persons) was approximately three times higher than the rate for females (1.3) (Table 1). The HCC rate for males increased from 4.5 in 2001 to 5.4 in 2006, and the rate for females increased from 1.2 to 1.4 (Figure). During 2001--2006, the APC for males (3.6%) was significantly higher than the APC for females (2.3%).
While the highest incidence rate was highest in Asian/Pacific Islanders (7.8 per 100,000 persons), the rate in this group did not change over the study period. However, the largest significant increases in HCC incidence rates were among whites (Annual Percentage Change = 3.8%), blacks (APC = 4.8%), and persons aged 50--59 years (9.1%).
An accompanying editorial note points out the association between chronic HBV and HCV infection and HCC as well as the similar age/race distribution of patients with HCC and chronic viral hepatitis. A sobering fact as this relates to transfusion medicine and blood banking is that most of the estimated 3.8 to 5.3 million persons who have chronic viral hepatitis in the United States are unaware of their disease. A recent IOM report addresses issues related to prevention and control of viral hepatitis B/C and HCC. This is a persistent and stubbornly resistant problem and threat to the safety of the blood supply despite increased vigilance and more sophisticated testing, especially with regard to hepatitis C virus.