Hepatitis B and C viral infections in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma

Hepatology. 1992 Sep;16(3):637-41. doi: 10.1002/hep.1840160305.


The prevalence of hepatitis B and C virus infections was studied in 70 patients diagnosed as having hepatocellular carcinoma. In addition to viral serological markers, serum hepatitis B virus DNA and hepatitis C virus RNA were determined with a nested polymerase chain reaction assay. Twelve patients (17%) were HBsAg positive, 26 (37%) had antibodies to HBs, HBc or both and 32 (46%) were negative for all hepatitis B virus serological markers. Prevalence of the antibody to hepatitis C virus was 63% (44 patients). Hepatitis B virus DNA was detected in 24 of the 66 tested patients (36%). Twelve of these hepatitis B virus DNA-positive patients were HBsAg negative (seven were positive for antibody to HBs, antibody to HBc or both and five were negative for all hepatitis B virus serological markers). Hepatitis C virus RNA was found in 42 of 68 patients (62%). A high correlation (95%) existed between hepatitis C virus RNA and hepatitis C virus antibodies. Nevertheless, two patients without antibody to hepatitis C virus had serum hepatitis C virus RNA sequences. Coinfection by the two viruses was detected in nine subjects (14%), but no clinical differences were found between these and the rest of the patients. We conclude that nearly 90% (62 of the 70 patients studied) of cases of hepatocellular carcinoma in our geographical area are related to hepatitis virus infections (detected by serological or molecular studies). Hepatitis C is more prevalent than hepatitis B virus in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, and the infection is still active when the tumor is diagnosed.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Base Sequence
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / etiology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / immunology*
  • DNA, Viral / blood
  • Female
  • Hepacivirus / isolation & purification*
  • Hepatitis Antibodies / blood
  • Hepatitis B / complications
  • Hepatitis B / immunology*
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies / blood
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / blood
  • Hepatitis B virus / isolation & purification*
  • Hepatitis C / complications
  • Hepatitis C / immunology*
  • Hepatitis C Antibodies
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / etiology
  • Liver Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data


  • DNA, Viral
  • Hepatitis Antibodies
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens
  • Hepatitis C Antibodies