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Keywords:

  • pooled analysis;
  • liver cancer;
  • infectious diseases;
  • developing countries

Abstract

Liver cancers are strongly linked to hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV). Egypt has the highest prevalence of HCV worldwide and has rising rates of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Egypt's unique nature of liver disease presents questions regarding the distribution of HBV and HCV in the etiology of HCC. Accordingly, a systematic search of MEDLINE, ISI Web of Science, ScienceDirect and World Health Organisation databases was undertaken for relevant articles regarding HBV and HCV prevalence in Egypt among healthy populations and HCC cases. We calculated weighted mean prevalences for HBV and HCV among the populations of interest and examined differences in prevalence by descriptive features, including age, year and geographic region. Prevalences for HBV and HCV were 6.7% and 13.9% among healthy populations, and 25.9% and 78.5% among HCC cases. Adults had higher prevalences of both infections (Adult HBV = 8.0%, Child HBV = 1.6%; Adult HCV = 15.7%, Child HCV = 4.0%). Geographically, HBV was higher in the south, whereas HCV was greater in the north (North HBV = 4.6%, South HBV = 11.7%; North HCV = 15.8%, South HCV = 6.7%). Among HCC cases, HBV significantly decreased over time (p = 0.001) while HCV did not, suggesting a shift in the relative influences of these viruses in HCC etiology in Egypt. Our results highlight large amounts of heterogeneity among the epidemiological factors associated with liver disease in Egypt and underscore the necessity of an integrated strategy for the successful prevention of viral hepatitis infections and chronic liver disease. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.