Prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection in porphyria cutanea tarda: systematic review and meta-analysis

J Hepatol. 2003 Oct;39(4):620-7. doi: 10.1016/s0168-8278(03)00346-5.


Background/aims: To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis on the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT).

Methods: Studies evaluating prevalence of HCV infection in patients with PCT were considered. Bibliographical searches were conducted in several electronic databases. Studies comparing HCV prevalence in PCT (cases) and in a reference group (controls) were included in the meta-analysis, combining the Odds Ratios (OR) of the individual studies.

Results: Fifty studies including 2,167 patients were identified. Mean HCV prevalence by serology was 47%, and 50% with polymerase chain reaction (PCR). HCV prevalence markedly varied depending on the country and the type of PCT (57% in the sporadic and 26% in the familial form). Eight case-control studies were identified. Seven studies compared HCV prevalence in PCT vs. healthy controls: 40% vs. 0.24%, respectively (OR=275; 95% confidence interval=104-725). Heterogeneity disappeared when only studies evaluating HCV infection by PCR were included.

Conclusions: HCV prevalence in patients with PCT is approximately 50%, much higher than that reported in general population, suggesting a possible etiopathogenic role of HCV in PCT. The striking geographical variation in this association suggests that genetic and/or environmental factors may also be involved in the pathogenesis of this disorder.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Hepatitis C / complications*
  • Hepatitis C / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Porphyria Cutanea Tarda / virology*
  • Prevalence