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Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma in hepatitis B virus-infected patients

Authors Chang CM, Hsieh MS, Yang TC, Hsieh VC, Chiang JH, Huang HH, How CK, Hu SY, Yen DH

Received 2 August 2017

Accepted for publication 25 October 2017

Published 28 November 2017 Volume 2017:9 Pages 709—720


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Leylah Drusbosky

Chia-Ming Chang,1–3 Ming-Shun Hsieh,1–4 Tsung-Chieh Yang,3,5 Vivian Chia-Rong Hsieh,6 Jen-Huai Chiang,7 Hsien-Hao Huang,1,3 Chorng-Kuang How,1,3 Sung-Yuan Hu,8 David Hung-Tsang Yen1,3

1Department of Emergency Medicine, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, 2Institute of Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene, National Taiwan University College of Public Health, 3College of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, 4Department of Emergency Medicine, 5Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taoyuan Branch, Taoyuan, 6Department of Health Services Administration, 7Management Office for Health Data, China Medical University, 8Department of Emergency Medicine, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan, Republic of China

Background: This study aimed to investigate the association between the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.
Methods: We conducted a population-based cohort study by using claims data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD). The study cohort comprised 1380 newly diagnosed HBV-infected patients with SSRI use who were frequency matched by age, sex, liver cirrhosis, and index year with HBV-infected patients without SSRI use in the comparison cohort. Each patient case was followed from 2000 to 2012 to identify incident HCC cases. Cox proportional hazards regression was performed to evaluate the association between SSRI use and HCC risk. The further sensitivity analysis used case-control study design. A total of 9070 HCC subjects retrieved from NHIRD, and equal non-HCC subjects were analyzed after matching for age and sex.
Results: We identified 9 and 24 HCC cases in the study and comparison cohorts during the follow-up period of 7056 and 6845 person-years, respectively. The incidence rate of HCC was 1.28 and 3.51 per 1000 person-years for SSRI and non-SSRI users, respectively. After adjusting for potential confounders, the adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for SSRI use was 0.28 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.12–0.64; p = 0.0027). For SSRI users with a cumulative defined daily dose (cDDD) of 28–89, 90–364, and ≥365, the adjusted HRs were 0.51, 0.22, and 0.12, respectively, (95% CI, 0.21–1.25, 0.05–0.94, and 0.02–0.90, respectively) compared with non-SSRI users (<28 cDDD). The sensitivity analysis showed that the SSRI presented with a dose-response protective effect for HCC in the multivariate analysis.
Conclusion: SSRIs use may possibly reduce the risk of HCC in HBV-infected patients in a dose-responsive manner.

selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, SSRI, hepatitis B virus, HBV, hepatocellular carcinoma, HCC, depression

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