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Hemodialysis Paradox: Survey on the Incidence Rate of Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Antihepatitis Virus C-Antibody-Positive Chronic Hemodialysis Patients


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Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Hideki Ishida, Department of Surgery III, Tokyo Women's Medical University, Tokyo, 162-0054, Japan. E-mail:


Abstract: The prevalence of antihepatitis virus C (HCV) antibodies in chronic hemodialysis (HD) patients is higher than in normal populations, and yet hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is infrequent in chronic HD patients who are HCV antibody positive. In this study, we investigated the characteristics of HCV-antibody-positive patients with HCC on chronic HD. A total of 6,366 cases of HCV-antibody-positive patients on chronic HD therapy was analyzed on the basis of answers to questionnaires on the incidence rate of HCC in 314 Japanese dialysis institutions. HCC was a complication in 114 of 6,222 (1.8%) HCV-antibody-positive patients, and cirrhosis was a complication in 536 of 6,242 (8.6%). The incidence rate of both complications was significantly higher in males than in females, and the incidence rate in the chronic HD patients was much lower than in normal populations. Specific immunological status in patients on chronic HD therapy may be an important key for preventing the progression of chronic HCV hepatitis. However, further research is needed because this study was preliminary and excluded the type of HCV virus, pathological findings, and laboratory data.