Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a malignancy of both underdeveloped and developing countries. Proteomes of ten pairs of clinical hepatitis B virus associated HCC tissue samples were obtained by high resolution two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Comprehensive analyses of proteins associated with B-type HCC were focused on total differentially expressed proteins (> or = two-fold increase or decrease, Student's t-test, p < 0.05) from one pair of samples. Protein identification was done by peptide mass fingerprinting with matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Comparative analyses of proteins associated with B-type HCC included repeat statistics in ten cases. A total of 100 protein spots, corresponding to 80 different gene products, were identified. Proteins whose expression levels were different by more than 2-fold in at least 50% of the cases (five of ten cases) were further analyzed and 45 proteins were selected out as candidates for HCC-associated proteins. Western blotting further validated up-regulated expressions of two candidate proteins in tumor tissues: proliferating cell antigen and stathmin 1. This comprehensive and comparative analyses of proteins associated with B-type HCC could provide useful molecular markers for diagnostics and prognostics and for therapeutic targets. The physiological significance of the differential expressions for several candidate proteins are discussed.