BOSTON, Nov. 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Research presented this week at The Liver Meeting® - held by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases - shows a recent plateau of chronic hepatitis B patients listed for liver transplantation, but a continued rise in liver cancer among these patients. It is estimated that nearly 240 million people, worldwide, are affected by chronic hepatitis B (HBV) - a viral infection, spread through bodily fluids, that attacks the liver. In recent years, antiviral therapies have provided new options for treating HBV, and many in healthcare expected their introduction to positively impact the rates of HBV-related liver cancer and decompensated liver disease - a stage of advanced irreversible liver damage that requires liver transplantation. To investigate this, researchers recently looked at the overall trends of patients registered onto liver transplantation waitlists, the number of people who survived while awaiting liver transplantation, and the likelihood of receiving transplantation among adults (18 and older) with chronic HBV in the United States. "While currently available antiviral therapies for chronic HBV are successful in achieving viral suppression, a true cure that completely eradicates the virus from one's body is rare," explains Robert Wong, MD, MS; assistant clinical professor of medicine; director of research and education; Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Alameda Health System - Highland Hospital, and lead investigator in the study. "Our current study aimed to better understand whether current treatments for chronic HBV actually impacted rates of HBV-related disease progression to the point of requiring liver transplantation, including HBV-related hepatocellular carcinoma (i.e., liver cancer). Understanding these trends is particularly important given the persistent imbalance in the number of patients requiring liver transplantation and number of donor livers available to be transplanted in the United States." Using data from the United Network for Organ Sharing registry, Dr. Wong's team studied 6,797 patients with HBV — among which 24.3 percent also had liver cancer - who were listed for liver transplantation during three different time periods: 1992-1996 (Era 1), 1997-2004 (Era 2) and 2005-2013 (Era 3).