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Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the leading contributors to cancer mortality worldwide and is a leading cause of death in individuals with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. It is uncertain how the presence of other metabolic factors and comorbidities influences HCC risk in HBV. Therefore, we performed a systematic literature review and meta-analysis to seek evidence for significant associations. MEDLINE, EMBASE and Web of Science databases were searched from 1 January 2000 to 24 June 2020 for studies investigating associations of metabolic factors and comorbidities with HCC risk in individuals with chronic HBV infection, written in English. We extracted data for meta-analysis and generated pooled effect estimates from a fixed-effects model. Pooled estimates from a random-effects model were also generated if significant heterogeneity was present. We identified 40 observational studies reporting on associations of diabetes mellitus (DM), hypertension, dyslipidaemia and obesity with HCC risk. Only DM had a sufficient number of studies for meta-analysis. DM was associated with >25% increase in hazards of HCC (fixed-effects hazards ratio [HR] 1.26, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.20-1.32, random-effects HR 1.36, 95% CI 1.23-1.49). This association was attenuated towards the null in a sensitivity analysis restricted to studies adjusted for metformin use. In conclusion, in adults with chronic HBV infection, DM is a significant risk factor for HCC, but further investigation of the influence of antidiabetic drug use and glycaemic control on this association is needed. Enhanced screening of individuals with HBV and diabetes may be warranted.

Original publication




Journal article


J Viral Hepat

Publication Date



HCC, Hepatitis B virus, comorbidities, diabetes, hepatocellular carcinoma