Hep B medication 'could have links to cancer treatment'

Hepatitis B virus medication could be linked to liver cancer treatment, following a study that gave the drug to newborn babies in Tapei.

The report of nearly 2,000 people suffering from hepatocellular carcinoma, which can be caused by hepatitis B, found that incidence of liver cancer was much lower in those that had been vaccinated at birth.

This research, led by Dr Mei-Hwei Chang from the department of paediatrics at the National Taiwan University Hospital, was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute this week.

In the study the authors said: "These data suggest that the effectiveness of the universal HBV immunisation program to prevent hepatocellular carcinoma has extended beyond childhood."

However, it was noted that some of those people vaccinated did develop liver cancer, although this has been put down to not being given a strong enough dose.

A recent study at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center indicated that the drug lapatinib is not effective against all liver cancer patients, only some subgroups.

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Hep B medication 'could have links to cancer treatment'
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