Age is associated with an increased risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC, the most common form of liver cancer) among those with HIV and HCV who have cirrhosis of the liver.

Researchers analyzed data on 2,689 HIV/HCV-positive people with cirrhosis in the Veterans Affairs HIV and HCV Clinical Case Registries. They excluded females because there were so few in the registries; those who lacked data on their HCV viral load, follow-up CD4 count or HIV viral load; and those who were diagnosed with cirrhosis within 90 days of their HIV diagnosis.

Findings were presented at the 2017 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Seattle.

More than 50 percent of the study cohort was older than 40, African American, had a most recent CD4 count greater than 200 and had genotype 1 or 4 of HCV.

During a median follow-up of five years, 88 individuals (3.3 percent) developed liver cancer.

After adjusting the data for various factors, the researchers found that, compared with being younger than 40 at the time of HCV diagnosis, being older than 50 at HCV diagnosis was associated with a 3.73-fold increased risk of liver cancer, and being between 40 and 50 at HCV diagnosis was associated with a 1.92-fold increased risk. Those who were on antipsychotics had half the risk of liver cancer compared with those not on such mental health medications.

To read the conference abstract, click here.