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Keywords:

  • correlation study;
  • Europe;
  • hepatitis C virus;
  • hepatocellular carcinoma;
  • mortality

In Europe, as worldwide, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) death rates are highly variable. Recent studies have reported that hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection may be responsible for the increased mortality from HCC in the UK and in France. We investigate here the potential relationship between HCC mortality and HCV prevalence in Europe. Population and mortality data of HCC were obtained for 22 European countries from the World Health Organization (WHO) databank. Age-standardized death rates were computed. The HCV prevalence among blood donors and the WHO estimate of HCV prevalence were used as two indicators of prevalence in the general population, when data were available. Spearman rank analysis was conducted between HCC mortality and HCV prevalence. For men, age-standardized death rates per 100 000 varied from 0.61 (Greece) to 12.19 (Hungary). HCC mortality among men was positively correlated with HCV prevalence among blood donors and with the WHO estimate: rank correlation coefficients were, respectively, 0.76 (P = 0.02) and 0.72 (P = 0.03). This study showed that the reported differences of HCC mortality in Europe correlate with HCV prevalence.