Earlier studies of both chronic hepatitis B and C virus (HBV and HCV) patients have shown a strong correlation between the soluble membrane Fas (sFas) and Fas protein expression on hepatocytes. The serum concentrations of sFas and soluble Fas ligand (sFasL) was examined in both healthy and HBV-infected Vietnamese patients to determine their relationship with the outcome of HBV infection. Patients with chronic rather than acute HBV had significantly higher amounts of sFas and sFasL, whilst the highest concentrations of both molecules were detected in those with malignant forms of HBV infection. sFas and sFasL concentrations tended to increase with a profile that paralleled the progression from asymptomatic to acute through chronic to malignant states, most markedly in the case of sFas. The sFas:sFasL ratio highlighted the relative predominance of sFas in those with acute and chronic HBV compared with asymptomatic or severe forms. In patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) a significant correlation was also observed between sFasL and alpha-feto protein (AFP) levels. The results indicate that sFas and to a lesser extent sFasL levels are to some degree associated with clinical progression in HBV infection.
Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.