Attributable Causes of Liver Cancer Mortality and Incidence in China

  • Fan, Jin-Hu (Department of Cancer Epidemiology, Cancer Institute/Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College) ;
  • Wang, Jian-Bing (Department of Cancer Epidemiology, Cancer Institute/Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College) ;
  • Jiang, Yong (Department of Cancer Epidemiology, Cancer Institute/Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College) ;
  • Xiang, Wang (Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Harvard University) ;
  • Liang, Hao (Department of Cancer Epidemiology, Cancer Institute/Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College) ;
  • Wei, Wen-Qiang (Department of Cancer Epidemiology, Cancer Institute/Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College) ;
  • Qiao, You-Lin (Department of Cancer Epidemiology, Cancer Institute/Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College) ;
  • Boffetta, Paolo (The Tisch Cancer Institute, Mount Sinai School of Medicine)
  • Published : 2013.12.31


Objectives: To estimate the proportion of liver cancer cases and deaths due to infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), aflatoxin exposure, alcohol drinking and smoking in China in 2005. Study design: Systemic assessment of the burden of five modifiable risk factors on the occurrence of liver cancer in China using the population attributable fraction. Methods: We estimated the population attributable fraction of liver cancer caused by five modifiable risk factors using the prevalence data around 1990 and data on relative risks from meta-analyses, and large-scale observational studies. Liver cancer mortality data were from the 3rd National Death Causes Survey, and data on liver cancer incidence were estimated from the mortality data from cancer registries in China and a mortality/incidence ratio calculated. Results: We estimated that HBV infection was responsible for 65.9% of liver cancer deaths in men and 58.4% in women, while HCV was responsible for 27.3% and 28.6% respectively. The fraction of liver cancer deaths attributable to aflatoxin was estimated to be 25.0% for both men and women. Alcohol drinking was responsible for 23.4% of liver cancer deaths in men and 2.2% in women. Smoking was responsible for 18.7% and 1.0%. Overall, 86% of liver cancer mortality and incidence (88% in men and 78% in women) was attributable to these five modifiable risk factors. Conclusions: HBV, HCV, aflatoxin, alcohol drinking and tobacco smoking were responsible for 86% of liver cancer mortality and incidence in China in 2005. Our findings provide useful data for developing guidelines for liver cancer prevention and control in China and other developing countries.


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