Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease increases risk of liver, colorectal, and breast cancers

November 13, 2017

Amsterdam, November 14, 2017 - Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the more common chronic liver diseases worldwide. It is associated with metabolic syndrome (i.e. insulin resistance and diabetes) and predisposes to cardiovascular disease. In a new study published in the Journal of Hepatology, researchers identified links not only between NAFLD and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), which have been well established, but also to cancers outside the liver, including colorectal and breast cancer.

"NAFLD is a very important multisystem disease to which much attention should be paid," explained lead author Gi-Ae Kim, of the Health Screening and Promotion Center, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan, College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea. "Despite its strong relationship with HCC development, little attention has been paid to the association of NAFLD with the development of other extrahepatic cancers. Our study presents statistical evidence that NAFLD is associated with extrahepatic cancers. We hope this study will raise awareness of the increased cancer potential that NAFLD might have."

This retrospective study evaluated the records of almost 26,000 Korean individuals who underwent health checkups from September 2004 through December 2005, who had no cancer diagnosis within one year of the checkup, and were followed for an average of 7.5 years.

Data revealed that 8,721 (33.6%) of individuals in the study were diagnosed with NAFLD, and cancer incidence in that group was 32% higher than in the non-NAFLD group. Once the data were adjusted for demographic and metabolic factors, significant risks for specific cancers became evident. Specifically, patients with NAFLD were 16.73 times more likely to develop HCC, twice as likely to develop colorectal cancer (men), and almost twice as likely to develop breast cancer (women).

High scores on two measurements of liver fibrosis, the NAFLD fibrosis score (NFS) and the FIB-4 score, were also associated with a higher risk for all cancers, and especially HCC. A high NFS score indicated an 87% increase in risk and high FIB-4 score a 74% increase in risk. These scores serve as a predictor of cancers and of HCC in particular.

Principal investigator Han Chu Lee, MD, of the Department of Gastroenterology, Asan Liver Center, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea, noted, "Our results suggest that patients with NAFLD require multidisciplinary evaluation with particular attention to the development of cancers. Further studies are needed to specify which high-risk groups among patients with NAFLD carry a greater risk of developing specific cancers, including HCC, colorectal cancer, and breast cancer and that we should pay more attention to the cancer potential of NAFLD in clinical practice."

In an accompanying editorial, Peter Jepsen, PhD, of the Department of Hepatology and Gastroenterology and Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark, and co-authors add perspective. "NAFLD is likely to become the most prevalent liver disease in many countries, yet clinicians are struggling to determine exactly why they should care about NAFLD. Is it merely a bystander--a manifestation of the metabolic syndrome resulting in cardiovascular disease--or is it a liver disease in its own right?"

Dr. Jepsen concludes that despite a number of open issues, the Korean cohort study by Kim et al provides relevant and valid information on the association between NAFLD and cancer risk, and definite evidence on its strong association with HCC.
-end-


Elsevier

Related Breast Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

Oncotarget: IGF2 expression in breast cancer tumors and in breast cancer cells
The Oncotarget authors propose that methylation of DVDMR represents a novel epigenetic biomarker that determines the levels of IGF2 protein expression in breast cancer.

Breast cancer: AI predicts which pre-malignant breast lesions will progress to advanced cancer
New research at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, could help better determine which patients diagnosed with the pre-malignant breast cancer commonly as stage 0 are likely to progress to invasive breast cancer and therefore might benefit from additional therapy over and above surgery alone.

Partial breast irradiation effective treatment option for low-risk breast cancer
Partial breast irradiation produces similar long-term survival rates and risk for recurrence compared with whole breast irradiation for many women with low-risk, early stage breast cancer, according to new clinical data from a national clinical trial involving researchers from The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G.

Breast screening linked to 60 per cent lower risk of breast cancer death in first 10 years
Women who take part in breast screening have a significantly greater benefit from treatments than those who are not screened, according to a study of more than 50,000 women.

More clues revealed in link between normal breast changes and invasive breast cancer
A research team, led by investigators from Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, details how a natural and dramatic process -- changes in mammary glands to accommodate breastfeeding -- uses a molecular process believed to contribute to survival of pre-malignant breast cells.

Breast tissue tumor suppressor PTEN: A potential Achilles heel for breast cancer cells
A highly collaborative team of researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina and Ohio State University report in Nature Communications that they have identified a novel pathway for connective tissue PTEN in breast cancer cell response to radiotherapy.

Computers equal radiologists in assessing breast density and associated breast cancer risk
Automated breast-density evaluation was just as accurate in predicting women's risk of breast cancer, found and not found by mammography, as subjective evaluation done by radiologists, in a study led by researchers at UC San Francisco and Mayo Clinic.

Blood test can effectively rule out breast cancer, regardless of breast density
A new study published in PLOS ONE demonstrates that Videssa® Breast, a multi-protein biomarker blood test for breast cancer, is unaffected by breast density and can reliably rule out breast cancer in women with both dense and non-dense breast tissue.

Study shows influence of surgeons on likelihood of removal of healthy breast after breast cancer dia
Attending surgeons can have a strong influence on whether a patient undergoes contralateral prophylactic mastectomy after a diagnosis of breast cancer, according to a study published by JAMA Surgery.

Young breast cancer patients undergoing breast conserving surgery see improved prognosis
A new analysis indicates that breast cancer prognoses have improved over time in young women treated with breast conserving surgery.

Read More: Breast Cancer News and Breast Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.