HCV is an RNA virus that cannot be integrated with the host genome; it can, however, exert its oncogenetic potential indirectly by contributing to the modulator effects of the host immune system probably through a capacity to escape the immune system. We have carried out a case controlled study in a hyperendemic area on HCV infection and liver cancer. We screened 114 liver cancer and 226 controls. All patients were at first diagnosis and examined. For liver cancer the risk was (OR=32.9, 95% CI 16.5-65.4, p<0.0001). Our study is particularly important for public health since it shows that in the South of Italy, because of the high prevalence of HCV and the high life expectancy, there are good reasons to suppose that the incidence rate of liver cancer will continue to increase in the next few years.