Both hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and iron overload are important health problems in Africa. Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is recognised as a major risk factor for HCC, but iron overload in Africans has not been considered in pathogenesis. Up to half the patients with HCC in Africa do not have any recognised risk factors such as preceding chronic HBV infection, and other risk factors remain unidentified. HCC is an important complication of HLA-linked haemochromatosis, an iron loading disorder found in Europeans. It is proposed that African iron overload might also be a risk factor for HCC.
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