The aim of this study was to clinically characterize young patients with hepatitis-C-related cirrhosis. We compared 27 patients with liver cirrhosis (Group LC) who were anti-HCV positive, aged 40 years or less at the time of diagnosis, with 323 consecutive patients with HCV-related chronic hepatitis (Group CH) matched for age and gender. Furthermore, Group LC was divided into two arbitrary groups (29-35 years, n = 8 /36-40 years, n = 19), based on the age of patients at the time of diagnosis of liver cirrhosis. Patients' characteristics and family history were investigated, and the frequency of transporter associated with antigen processing 2 (TAP2) was determined. A family history of liver disease was present in 40.7% of Group LC but in 18.0% of Group CH (P < 0.05). The younger the age of diagnosis of cirrhosis in Group LC, the higher the frequency of a positive family history (29-35 years, 87.5%; 36-40 years, 21.1%, P < 0.05). The frequency of TAP2*0201 was significantly higher in young adult patients with HCV-related liver cirrhosis than in HCV carriers with normal ALT (P < 0.05), and tended to be higher than in uninfected normal subjects (P = 0.05). The cumulative survival rate of cirrhosis patients with family history of liver diseases was significantly lower than that of cirrhosis patients without such history (P < 0.05). Our findings suggest that a positive family history of liver disease and TAP2*0201 polymorphism may be risk factors for HCV-related liver cirrhosis in young adults.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.