Mammalian hepatitis B viruses and primary liver cancer

Semin Cancer Biol. 1992 Oct;3(5):309-20.


Hepatitis B virus is a major etiologic agent in the development of human hepatocellular carcinoma, but the precise role of the virus in the tumorigenic process is still unclear. Recent studies of naturally occurring animal models, such as woodchucks and squirrels infected with hepatitis B-like viruses (hepadnaviruses) have revealed different oncogenic strategies and outlined the predominant role of myc genes in rodent hepatomas. Higher oncogenicity of woodchuck hepatitis virus has been correlated with a direct contribution of the virus as an insertional mutagen of myc genes: c-myc, N-myc and predominantly the woodchuck N-myc retroposon. In contrast, rare viral integration events but frequent amplifications of c-myc characterize ground squirrel hepatitis virus-induced tumors, indicating that hepadnaviruses may contribute in malignant transformation through different, direct or indirect ways.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / microbiology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Genes, myc / physiology
  • Hepadnaviridae / genetics
  • Hepadnaviridae / pathogenicity
  • Hepatitis B virus / genetics
  • Hepatitis B virus / pathogenicity*
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / genetics
  • Liver Neoplasms / microbiology*
  • Marmota
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional
  • Sciuridae