The goal of this study was to review the scientific basis for the recognition of occupational cancer, in relation to hepatitis viral infections in Korea. Most Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections in Korea occur as vertical infections, but these are decreasing rapidly due to vaccination. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is known to be transmitted through parenteral routes, but the transmission route is often unclear. Most occupational infections of hepatitis virus involve accidental injuries of medical institution workers while using virus-contaminated medical devices. Many cohort studies and case-control studies have consistently reported that HBV and HCV infection increases the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and the strength of this association is high. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma appears to be associated with HCV. Cholangiocarcinoma, pancreatic cancer, leukemia, and thyroid cancer are considered to be less related or unrelated to epidemiological causation. There are no uniform international specific criteria for occupational cancer caused through occupational exposure to a hepatitis virus. In establishing appropriate standards applicable to Korea, there should be sufficient consideration of latency, virus exposure levels and frequency, and other cancers, apart from HCC. In conclusion, we recommend keeping the current specific criteria. However, if a worker is injured at work when using a sharp medical device, and HBV and HCV viral infections are confirmed through serologic tests; if the worker is diagnosed as having a chronic HBV or HCV infection, a subsequent HCC (or Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma following chronic HCV infection) can then be considered highly related to the worker's occupation.
- Hepatitis B virus
- Hepatitis C virus