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Vol. 30, No. 6, 2012
Issue release date: December 2012
Dig Dis 2012;30:547–553

Gender Differences in the Livers of Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma and Chronic Hepatitis C Infection

Nishida N. · Arizumi T. · Hayaishi S. · Takita M. · Kitai S. · Yada N. · Hagiwara S. · Inoue T. · Minami Y. · Ueshima K. · Sakurai T. · Ikai I. · Kudo M.
aDepartment of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Faculty of Medicine, Kinki University, Osaka, bDepartment of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto, and c Department of Surgery, National Hospital Organization Kyoto Medical Center, Kyoto, Japan

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Objectives: A unique causative aspect of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a gender difference in its incidence. To determine the specific factors that contribute to a male predominance, we analyzed the clinicopathological factors, and genetic and epigenetic alterations of HCCs in male and female patients. Methods: We retrospectively analyzed three cohorts of patients: the first cohort consisted of 547 patients identified with the first event of HCC, the second cohort included 176 HCC patients, and the third 127 patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC). Results: Male patients were found to have HCC more frequently than female patients in cases of non-cirrhotic liver (p = 0.0030 by the χ2 test), especially in hepatitis C-positive cases. However, there were no gender-specific differences in the genetic and epigenetic alterations of cancer-related genes. Deposition of iron was more severe in male CHC patients than in female patients. Conclusions: Male patients with CHC develop HCC more frequently when they have a non-cirrhotic liver than do female patients. This gender difference could be, at least partially, attributed to a different degree of iron deposition, which contributes to the development of HCC in the absence of liver cirrhosis in men with CHC.

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