Burden of Virus-associated Liver Cancer in the Arab World, 1990-2010


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is amongst the top three cancer causes of death worldwide with hepatitis Band C viruses (HBV/HCV) as the main etiological agents. An up-to-date descriptive epidemiology of the burdenof HBV/HCV-associated HCC in the Arab world is lacking. We therefore determined the burden of HBV/HCVassociatedHCC deaths in the Arab world using the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2010 dataset. GBD 2010provides, for the first time, deaths specifically attributable to viral-associated HCC. We analyzed the data forthe 22 Arab countries by age, sex and economic status from 1990 to 2010 and compared the findings to globaltrends. Our analysis revealed that in 2010, an estimated 752,101 deaths occurred from HCC worldwide. Of these537,093 (71%) were from HBV/HCV-associated HCC. In the Arab world, 17,638 deaths occurred from HCC ofwhich 13,558 (77%) were HBV/HCV-linked. From 1990 to 2010, the burden of HBV and HCV-associated HCCdeaths in the Arab world increased by 137% and 216% respectively, compared to global increases of 62% and73%. Age-standardized death rates also increased in most of the Arab countries, with the highest rates notedin Mauritania and Egypt. Male gender and low economic status correlated with higher rates. These findingsindicate that the burden of HBV/HCV-associated HCC in the Arab world is rising at a much faster rate thanrest of the world and urgent public health measures are necessary to abate this trend and diminish the impacton already stretched regional healthcare systems.