Spatial analysis of hepatobiliary abnormalities in a population at high-risk of cholangiocarcinoma in Thailand.
Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is a serious health challenge with low survival prognosis. The liver fluke, Opisthorchis viverrini, plays a role in the aetiology of CCA, through hepatobiliary abnormalities: liver mass (LM), bile duct dilation, and periductal fibrosis (PDF). A population-based CCA screening program, the Cholangiocarcinoma Screening and Care Program, operates in Northeast Thailand. Hepatobiliary abnormalities were identified through ultrasonography. A multivariate zero-inflated, Poisson regression model measured associations between hepatobiliary abnormalities and covariates including age, sex, distance to water resource, and history of O. viverrini infection. Geographic distribution was described using Bayesian spatial analysis methods. Hepatobiliary abnormality prevalence was 38.7%; highest in males aged > 60 years (39.8%). PDF was most prevalent (20.1% of males). The Standardized Morbidity Ratio (SMR) for hepatobiliary abnormalities was highest in the lower and upper parts of the Northeast region. Hepatobiliary abnormalities specifically associated with CCA were also more common in males and those aged over 60 years and distributed along the Chi, Mun, and Songkram Rivers. Our findings demonstrated a high risk of hepatobiliary disorders in Northeast Thailand, likely associated with infection caused by O. viverrini. Screening for CCA and improvement of healthcare facilities to provide better treatment for CCA patients should be prioritized in these high-risk areas.