Statins confer protection against hepatocellular carcinoma in NAFLD patients
Statin use demonstrates a protective effect against hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), while hypertension confers an increased risk, in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a study has found.
Visceral adiposity at baseline, although not a risk factor, is higher in male patients before HCC development, declining in the majority by HCC diagnosis, according to the authors.
A retrospective case-control study was conducted on HCC cases from a cohort of NAFLD patients who underwent at least two computed tomography (CT) scans. NAFLD-HCC cases confirmed on contrast imaging or biopsy were included in the analysis. NAFLD patients without HCC matched by sex and age were selected as controls.
The authors assessed clinical variables and measured visceral adipose tissue and subcutaneous adipose tissue by CT scan at two timepoints: before HCC diagnosis and at diagnosis.
Of the 102 participants identified in this study from 2002 to 2016, 34 were HCC patients and 68 were controls (mean age, 69 years; 65 percent males). Ninety-one percent of them had cirrhosis.
Multivariable analysis revealed the protective benefit of statin use against HCC (odds ratio [OR], 0.20, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.07–0.60; p=0.004) and the increased risk for HCC among those with hypertension (OR, 5.80, 95 percent CI, 2.01–16.75; p=0.001).
In addition, visceral adipose tissue in males was higher prior to HCC diagnosis and decreased at HCC diagnosis in 86 percent, which was significantly different as compared with controls (OR, 2.78, 95 percent CI, 1.10–7.44; p=0.04).