Some researchers have hypothesised that the long-term use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) may increase the risk of developing cancer. However, there is currently no clear association between PPI use and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) risk. The authors used 2003–2013 data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database to identify 35,356 patients with chronic hepatitis B (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. 7492 patients were matched with 7492 controls by gender, age, cohort entry year, comorbidities and medication use. The authors found that, in the HBV cohort, 237 patients developed HCC during a median follow-up of 53 months. However, they did not identify a link between PPI use and an increase in the risk of developing HCC (adjusted hazard ratio aHR 1.25, 95%CI 0.90-1.73). Amongst the HCV cohort, 211 patients developed HCC but, again, PPI use was not found to be associated with an increase in the risk of developing HCC (aHR 1.19, 95%CI 0.88-1.61). Overall there was no relationship between dose-dependent effects of PPI use and HCC risk. Therefore a retrospective, nationwide population-based cohort study in Taiwan does not suggest that PPI use is associated with the risk of developing HCC among patients with chronic HBV or HCV infections.
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