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OBJECTIVES: We set out to characterise chronic hepatitis B (CHB) in the primary care population in England and investigate risk factors for progression to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. METHODS: We identified 8039 individuals with CHB in individuals aged ≥18 years between 1999 and 2019 in the English primary care database QResearch. HCC risk factors were investigated using Cox proportional hazards modelling. RESULTS: Most of those with a record of CHB were males (60%) of non-White ethnicity (>70%), and a high proportion were in the most deprived Townsend deprivation quintile (44%). Among 7029 individuals with longitudinal data, 161 HCC cases occurred. Increased HCC hazards were significantly associated with male sex (adjusted hazards ratio [aHR] 3.17, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.92-5.23), in the fifth deprivation quintile as compared to the third quintile (aHR 1.69, 95% CI 1.01-2.84), with older age (for age groups 56-65 and ≥66 years, compared to 26-35 years, aHRs 2.82 [95% CI 1.45-5.46] and 3.76 [95% CI 1.79-7.9], respectively), Caribbean ethnicity (aHR 3.32, 95% CI 1.43-7.71, compared to White ethnicity), ascites (aHR 3.15, 95% CI 1.30-7.67), cirrhosis (aHR 6.55, 95% CI 4.57-9.38) and peptic ulcer disease (aHR 2.26, 95% CI 1.45-3.51). CONCLUSIONS: Targeting interventions and HCC surveillance at vulnerable groups is essential to improve CHB outcomes and to support progress towards international goals for the elimination of hepatitis infection as a public health threat.

Original publication




Journal article


Public Health

Publication Date





215 - 227


Big data, Electronic health records, Epidemiology, Hepatitis B virus, Liver cancer, Statins, Viral hepatitis elimination, Humans, Male, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Female, Carcinoma, Hepatocellular, Hepatitis B virus, Liver Neoplasms, Hepatitis B, Chronic, Retrospective Studies, Electronic Health Records, Liver Cirrhosis, Poverty, Primary Health Care, Antiviral Agents