Genotype C hepatitis B virus infection is associated with an increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma

Chan, H. L.-Y.; Hui, A. Y.; Wong, M. L.; Tse, A. M.-L.; Hung, L. C.-T.; Wong, V. W.-S.; Sung, J. J.-Y.
October 2004
Gut;Oct2004, Vol. 53 Issue 10, p1494
Academic Journal
Background: Identification of risk factors for the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is important for HCC surveillance in chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Our aim was to study the independent risk factors and effect of HBV genotypes on HCC development in a prospective longitudinal cohort of chronic hepatitis B patients. Patients and Methods: Chronic hepatitis B patients recruited since 1997 were prospectively followed up for the development of HCC. HCC was diagnosed by a combination of α fetoprotein, imaging, and histology. Liver cirrhosis was defined as ultrasonic features of cirrhosis together with hypersplenism, ascites, varices, and/or encephalopathy. Results:In total, 426 patients were followed up for 1664 person years; median 225 (range 12-295) weeks. Forty nine (11%) patients had underlying clinical liver cirrhosis. A total of 242 (57%) and 179 (42%) patients had HBV genotypes C and B, respectively. Twenty five patients developed HCC in a median follow up of 121 (range 14-236) weeks. The overall incidence of HCC was 1502 cases per 100 000 person years. On multivariate analysis, clinical liver cirrhosis and HBV genotype C infection were independently associated with HCC development, with an adjusted relative risk of 10.24 (95% confidence interval (CI) 4.39-23.89; p<0.001) and 2.84 (95% CI 1.05-7.72; p = 0.040), respectively. Patient age, sex, hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) status, alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels, and basal core promoter mutations did not predict HCC development. Patients infected with HBV genotype C tended to have persistently positive HBeAg or fluctuating HBeAg status and higher ALT levels during the follow up period. Conclusion: Genotype C HBV infection is an independent risk factor for HCC development in addition to liver cirrhosis.


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