Background: Patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) frequently show glucose intolerance. Diabetes mellitus (DM) has been proposed to be a risk factor for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Aims: The aim of this study is to clarify the influence of glucose intolerance as evaluated by the 75 g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) on hepatocarcinogenesis in patients with HCV.
Methods: This study was carried out in a cohort of 197 patients with HCV who had not been previously diagnosed as having DM. All patients underwent the 75 g OGTT at entry. They were also screened for HCC and, thereafter, the rate of hepatocarcinogenesis was compared between the patients with and without glucose intolerance.
Results: Based on the results of the 75 g OGTT, 125 (63%) had normal glucose tolerance (NGT), 49 (25%) had impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and 23 (12%) had the DM pattern. HCC occurred more frequently in patients with the DM pattern than in patients with either NGT or IGT. Even in patients without advanced liver fibrosis, HCC was more frequently observed in patients with DM than in patients with NGT. A multiple logistic regression analysis showed advanced liver fibrosis, the DM pattern on the 75 g OGTT, an older age and γ-glutamyltransferase to all be independent risk factors related to hepatocarcinogenesis.
Conclusions: A DM pattern on the 75 g OGTT was thus found to be associated with hepatocarcinogenesis and the 75 g OGTT is considered to be useful for identifying this risk factor for HCC in patients with HCV.