Liver transplant waiting lists are increasingly crowded with people with hepatitis C virus, MedPage Today reports. According to Jennifer Flemming, MD, of Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, this increase is a result of rising cases of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common form of liver cancer, among people with hep C. She reported these findings at the 64th Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) in Washington, DC.

In order to look for trends in liver transplantation and make future projections, Flemming and her colleagues analyzed information from the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients, covering January 2003 to December 2010.

A total of 20,325 people with hep C were wait-listed for a transplant during this period, 12,724 of them with end-stage liver disease (ESLD) and 7,061 with HCC.

Because of the United Network of Organ Sharing’s Model for End-stage Liver Disease, people with liver cancer are given a higher priority for transplant.

Among people with hep C, trends show that the numbers of HCC cases are rising much faster than the numbers of people with ESLD, meaning that these hep C-related HCC cases are putting increasing strain on the pool of available organs.

The investigators projected that the number of people with hep C put on transplant lists would rise from 2,072 in 2003 to 3,053 in 2020, when the American incidence of both HCC and ESLD is expected to peak. The number of people with hep C and ESLD would rise from 1,451 to 1,674 as the number of people with hep C and HCC on the lists would swell from 623 to 1,379.

To read the MedPage Today story, click here.