(HealthDay News) – Across racial/ethnic groups, diabetes is associated with an increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), with the highest risk seen for Latinos, according to a study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research’s Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved, held from Dec. 6–9 in Atlanta.

Veronica Wendy Setiawan, PhD, from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues examined the correlation between HCC and diabetes in a prospective analysis involving 169,479 African-American, Native Hawaiian, Japanese-American, Latino, and white men and women who were recruited from 1993–1996 into the Multiethnic Cohort Study and followed for a median of 15.7 years.

The researchers found that, across the racial/ethnic groups, the incidence rates of HCC differed markedly, with age-adjusted relative risks of 2.77 for Latinos, 2.48 for Native Hawaiians, 2.16 for African-Americans, and 2.07 for Japanese-Americans, compared to whites. In all ethnic groups, diabetes was strongly associated with HCC risk, with relative risks of 3.33 in Latinos, 2.54 in Hawaiians, 2.33 in Japanese-Americans, 2.02 in African-Americans, and 2.17 in whites. The diabetes-HCC association was not modified by body mass index, smoking status, or alcohol intake (P≥0.19). Diabetes accounted for an estimated 26 percent of HCC cases in Latinos, 20% in Hawaiians, 13% in African-Americans, 12 percent in Japanese-Americans, and 6 percent in whites.

“People with diabetes should be aware that their condition is associated with a higher risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma,” Setiawan said in a statement.

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