Published online Jan 28, 2017. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v9.i3.119
Peer-review started: August 29, 2016
First decision: October 8, 2016
Revised: November 8, 2016
Accepted: December 1, 2016
Article in press: December 2, 2016
Published online: January 28, 2017
Liver cancer is the third leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) representing more than 90% of primary liver cancers. Most HCC patients are also suffering from chronic liver disease (CLD). Evidence is emerging that the composition of diet plays an important role in HCC and CLD development and may also have a chemoprotective role. In contrast to other types of cancer, there are few studies investigating the role of diet in hepatocarcinogenesis. From the available data it is evident that high intakes of red meat and dietary sugar positively correlate with HCC occurrence. On the contrary, high consumption of white meat, fish, vegetables, fruits and cereals are inversely associated with HCC risk. This letter discusses the potential role of dietary interventions in the prevention of hepatocarcinogenesis. The increasing HCC incidence and its high fatality are making HCC prevention an urgent matter. Dietary modifications are found to offer protection against HCC, however, new studies from well-designed and large prospective trials are required to confirm these results.
Core tip: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third leading cause of cancer mortality. Evidence shows that diet relates to HCC risk and may also have a protective role. Several dietary factors such as vegetables, cereals, fruits, white meat and fish have been found to be inversely associated with HCC risk, whereas a positive correlation has been found with red meat and dietary sugar intakes. The increasing HCC incidence makes its prevention an urgent matter and diet intervention represent an attractive potential. Dietary modifications are found to protect against HCC, however, new studies from well-designed and large prospective trials are required to confirm these results.