Application of Probabilistic Modeling to Quantify the Reduction Levels of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Risk Attributable to Chronic Aflatoxins Exposure

Joseph M. Wambui, Edward G. Karuri, Julia A. Ojiambo, Patrick Murigu Kamau Njage

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Epidemiological studies show a definite connection between areas of high aflatoxin content and a high occurrence of human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Hepatitis B virus in individuals further increases the risk of HCC. The two risk factors are prevalent in rural Kenya and continuously predispose the rural populations to HCC. A quantitative cancer risk assessment therefore quantified the levels at which potential pre- and postharvest interventions reduce the HCC risk attributable to consumption of contaminated maize and groundnuts. The assessment applied a probabilistic model to derive probability distributions of HCC cases and percentage reductions levels of the risk from secondary data. Contaminated maize and groundnuts contributed to 1,847 +/- 514 and 158 +/- 52 HCC cases per annum, respectively. The total contribution of both foods to the risk was additive as it resulted in 2,000 +/- 518 cases per annum. Consumption and contamination levels contributed significantly to the risk whereby lower age groups were most affected. Nonetheless, pre- and postharvest interventions might reduce the risk by 23.0-83.4% and 4.8-95.1%, respectively. Therefore, chronic exposure to aflatoxins increases the HCC risk in rural Kenya, but a significant reduction of the risk can be achieved by applying specific pre- and postharvest interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2017



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