Liver cancer and liver disease mortality rates have increased over the last 3 decades in the United States, according to new findings.
Yuhree Kim, MD, MPH, department of surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and colleagues analyzed population-based mortality data from the National Vital Statistics System and data related to hepatitis B and C, obesity prevalence and liver cancer from the CDC between 1981 and 2010. Adults included were aged 46 years or older.
Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis accounted for 1.1% of almost 61.7 million deaths in people aged older than 45 years in the US; 0.5% were attributable to liver cancer. The crude death rate (CDR) doubled for liver cancer between 1981 (eight deaths per 100,000 population) and 2010 (16.3 deaths per 100,000 population), compared with a decrease in mortality due to diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The CDR for chronic liver disease and cirrhosis decreased (34.7 deaths per 100,000 to 23.8 deaths per 100,000) over the study period, however, CDR of viral hepatitis rose from 0.8 deaths per 100,000 to 5.9 deaths per 100,000. Deaths from alcoholic liver disease decreased between 1981 to 2002-2003 (13.5 deaths per 100,000 vs. 9.7 deaths per 100,000).
Age-adjusted death rates (ADR) for chronic liver disease and cirrhosis showed a decline (33.5 deaths per 100,000 in 1981 to 22.1 deaths per 100,000 in 2006), while deaths by liver cancer rose from 7.9 deaths per 100,000 in 1981 to 16.6 deaths per 100,000 in 2010. Liver cancer incidence increased by 3.7% between 1999 and 2010 (P<.05).
“Mortality rates from chronic liver disease and liver cancer have increased substantially over the past 3 decades,” the researchers wrote. “A comprehensive approach that involves both primary and secondary prevention, increased access to treatment and more funding for liver-related research, is needed if we hope to address the high death rates associated with chronic liver disease and liver cancer in the United States.”
Disclosure: Aslam Ejaz, MD, MPH, is supported by the E.B. Pillsbury Foundation. Robert A. Anders, MD, reports receiving grants from the National Institutes of Health and Bristol-Myers Squibb.