People with hepatitis B virus (HBV) who undergo surgery for liver cancer have improved health outcomes on multiple counts if they treat the virus at least 90 days before surgery, MedPage Today reports.

Publishing their findings in JAMA Surgery, researchers analyzed medical records of 2,362 Chinese individuals who had HBV and received a liver cancer operation known as margin-negative partial hepatectomy between January 2008 and April 2010. The cohort members were followed for a median of 44.7 months.

A total of 326 (13.8 percent) of the cohort members were treated for hep B for at least 90 days before surgery. The rest of the cohort received no such treatment before surgery.

Among those who were not treated for HBV before surgery, having a viral load of 2,000 or higher before surgery was associated with 40 percent higher odds of having a liver condition known as microvascular invasion at the time of surgery. This condition is associated with poor postoperative outcomes after liver cancer surgery.

A total of 38.7 percent of those who were treated for HBV before surgery had microvascular invasion at the time of their operation compared with 48.6 percent of those who had not been treated for HBV, meaning that HBV treatment was associated with a 24 percent reduced risk of such an outcome.

Those who had a complete response to HBV treatment had a 31 percent lower risk of microvascular invasion at the time of surgery.

The respective rates of early tumor recurrence among those treated and not treated for HBV prior to surgery were 14.2 percent and 23.4 percent at six months post-surgery, 24.6 percent and 37.1 percent post-surgery and 38.5 percent and 52.3 percent at two years post-surgery.

To read the MedPage Today article, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.