Background & aims: Hepatitis B viral (HBV) genotype C is associated with the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) compared with genotype B; however, the virologic factors contributing to the pathogenic differences remain unknown. We investigated the prevalence of T1762/A1764 basal core promoter mutant in a cohort of 250 genotype B- or C-infected HBV carriers with different stages of liver disease to clarify a possible role for this mutant in hepatocarcinogenesis.
Methods: The sequences of basal core promoter of HBV genome were determined in 60 inactive HBV carriers and 190 patients with histologically verified chronic liver disease and HCC.
Results: Genotype C has a higher prevalence of T1762/A1764 mutation than genotype B (odds ratio, 5.18; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.59-10.37; P < 0.001). The likelihood of T1762/A1764 mutation parallels the progression of liver disease, from 3% in inactive carriers to 64% in HCC patients (odds ratio, 20.04; 95% CI, 7.25-55.41; P < 0.001). By multiple logistic regression analysis, patients with T1762/A1764 mutation were significantly associated with the development of HCC than those without (odds ratio, 10.60; 95% CI, 4.92-22.86; P < 0.001), and the risk was observed for both genotypes B and C. In addition, the prevalence of T1762/A1764 mutation in younger HCC patients was comparable with older HCC patients but was significantly higher than that in age-matched inactive carriers, irrespective of genotypes.
Conclusions: Our data suggest that HBV carriers with T1762/A1764 basal core promoter mutant are at increased risk for HCC and that this mutant may contribute to the pathogenesis of HBV infection.