Study Findings No Associations Between HCV and Genitourinary Cancers

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A team of investigators from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center assessed whether a relationship exists between hepatitis C virus infection and common genitourinary cancers, such as kidney and prostate cancer.

Results from a case control study, published as a letter to the editor of Seminars in Oncology, did not support an association between chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and common genitourinary (GU) cancers.

Chronic HCV has been associated with extrahepatic cancers, but few studies have reported associations with GU cancers such as kidney and prostate cancers and findings from these studies have been inconsistent. Investigators therefore performed a case-control study including adult (≥18 years at diagnosis) patients with cancer who were screened for HCV antibody (anti-HCV) at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center from June 2004 through January 2018.

A total of 42,244 patients were screened for anti-HCV, among which 1493 patients with GU cancers (527 kidney, 691 prostate, 58 renal pelvis and ureter, and 217 urinary bladder) and 1187 control patients with non-GU cancers (242 esophagus, 709 lung, and 236 pancreas) were included in the study. Using univariate analysis, the investigators found that the prevalence of anti-HCV positivity did not differ significantly between the control group and patients with cancers of the renal pelvis and ureter (8% vs 9%, P = .81), prostate (10% vs 8%, P = .34), or urinary bladder (8% vs 6%, P = .18). However, the prevalence of anti-HCV positivity was lower among patients with kidney cancer compared with the control group (4% vs 8%, P< .001). Multivariate analysis conducted after adjustments for confounders resulted in no significant association between anti-HCV positivity and any GU cancer evaluated.

According to the investigators, this is the first study to examine associations between HCV infection and multiple GU cancers, including renal pelvis and ureter cancers. Although the results did not support associations between HCV and common genitourinary cancers, the investigators stress that, “HCV screening and prompt treatment of HCV infection are still warranted in patients with genitourinary cancers given that HCV infection in patients with various primary malignancies can cause liver disease progression, negatively impact cancer treatment plans, and lead to development of HCV associated second primary malignancies like hepatocellular carcinoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.”

Disclosure: Several study authors declared affiliations with the pharmaceutical industry. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.


Angelidakis G, Mahale P, Jonasch E, Jiang Y, Torres HA. Chronic hepatitis C virus infection and genitourinary cancers: a case-control study [published online May 21, 2020]. Semin Oncol. doi:10.1053/j.seminoncol.2020.04.005