Mechanisms of Disparities in Chronic Liver Diseases and Cancer (R01/ R21)
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a common type of liver cancer, is one of the fastest-rising causes of cancer-related deaths in the United States. HCC has been shown to disproportionately affect disadvantaged populations, with higher rates and worse survival among racial/ethnic minorities and individuals of low socioeconomic status (SES). Through support of multidisciplinary research, NIMHD seeks to understand the underlying social, cultural, clinical, environmental, and biological factors as well as the mechanisms that result in disparities in chronic liver diseases and cancer in the health disparities populations in United States.
The prevalence of risk factors for liver diseases and cancer—such as chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C virus infection, heavy and chronic alcohol consumption, genetic predisposition, cirrhosis, and tobacco smoking—varies among racial and ethnic populations. This initiative will promote comprehensive research on understanding the complex causes of recent increases in liver disease and cancer disparities. This program will support research to understand the interplay of multiple risk factors, genetic, social, and environmental, metabolic causes of liver disease and cancer disparities in racial/ethnic minority and low SES populations. The role of health care access and quality of care for health disparity populations is also of interest, since it can result in late diagnosis, inadequate or limited access to treatment, and poor survival rates.