, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 435-442

Primary liver cancer in a high-incidence area in North Italy: Etiological hypotheses arising from routinely collected data

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Abstract

The incidence rate for primary liver cancer (PLC) was investigated in the Health Unit of Brescia (about 325,000 inhabitants), North Italy, in the 5-year period 1986–90, in order to ascertain whether there was a high risk for developing the disease in the area as suggested by mortality data. A total of 349 incident cases were observed (male: female ratio =3.4: 1), of which 182 (52.1%) were diagnosed through histology. The cumulative risk was about 5% and 1% in males and females, respectively. The crude incidence rates were 34.5/100,000 in males and 9.4/100,000 in females, and the age-standardized rates were the highest among all those observed in the 9 Italian areas covered by Cancer Registries. Although about half of the cases in males can be attributed to either chronic alcoholic disease or HBV infection or both, further research is needed to investigate the role of known risk factors for PLC in the Health Unit.