Risk of cancer in biopsy-proven alcohol-related liver disease: A population-based cohort study of 3,410 persons.

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Persons with alcohol-related liver disease (ALD) are at an increased risk of death and liver-related endpoints, but the association with incident cancer is not well understood, and whether it differs across histopathological subgroups is undefined.We investigated the risk of cancer in 3,410 persons with a diagnosis of ALD and an available liver biopsy in Sweden between 1969-2016, compared to a matched reference population. Administrative coding from national registers and liver biopsy data were used to define exposure and outcome status. Competing risk regression, adjusted for available confounders and using non-cancer mortality as the competing risk, was used to estimate subdistribution hazard ratios (sHRs) for incident cancer.At baseline, persons with ALD had a median age of 58.2 years, 67% were men, and 2,042 (60%) had cirrhosis. ALD was not associated with cancer in general (sHR=1.01, 95%CI=0.92-1.11), although the risk was increased in persons surviving ≥1 year (sHR=1.19, 95%CI=1.08-1.32). The risk of liver cancer was elevated sHR=12.80, 95%CI=9.38-17.45). HCC incidence among ALD persons with cirrhosis was 8.6 cases/1,000 person-years, corresponding to a cumulative incidence after 10 years of 5.0%.Persons with biopsy-proven ALD that survive the initial time after diagnosis are at an elevated risk for cancer, in particular HCC compared with the general population. Although the risk for HCC was elevated, data do not suggest that routine surveillance for HCC in ALD cirrhosis is cost-effective.

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