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9 June 2009

Belly fat tied to liver cancer recurrence

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The amount of fat accumulated around internal abdominal organs appears to affect the likelihood of a recurrence of liver cancer following treatment, Japanese researchers report.

Dr. H. Yoshida of the University of Tokyo and colleagues came to this conclusion after following 62 patients who had undergone treatment for liver cancer; 27 were classified as having high amounts of so-called "visceral" fat, while the other 35 had smaller amounts.

After a year, the recurrence rate was 15.9 percent in the high visceral fat group compared with 9.7 percent in the other patients.

After 3 years, the corresponding rates were 75.1 percent and 43.1 percent, the team reports in the issue of Gut

During the observation period, there were 14 deaths, 9 of which were due to progression of liver cancer. However, there was no significant difference in survival between those with high amounts of belly fat and those with small amounts.

Meanwhile, the team concludes, "it remains to be seen" whether reducing levels of visceral fat decreases the odds of liver cancer returning.

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