Occult hepatitis B virus infection in patients with chronic liver disease due to hepatitis C virus and hepatocellular carcinoma in Brazil

Arq Gastroenterol. Jan-Mar 2007;44(1):58-63. doi: 10.1590/s0004-28032007000100013.


Background: The prevalence and consequences of occult HBV infection in patients with chronic liver disease by HCV remain unknown.

Aims: To evaluate the prevalence of occult HBV infection in a population of HCV-infected patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.

Methods: The serum samples were tested for HBV DNA by nested PCR and liver tissue analysis was carried out using the immunohistochemical technique of 66 HBsAg-negative patients: 26 patients with chronic hepatitis by HCV (group 1), 20 with hepatocellular carcinoma related to chronic infection by HCV (group 2) and 20 with negative viral markers for hepatitis B and C (control group).

Results: Occult HBV infection was diagnosed in the liver tissue of 9/46 (19.5%) HCV-infected patients. Prevalence of occult B infection was evaluated in the HCV-infected patients with and without hepatocellular carcinoma, and there were seven (77.7%) of whom from group 2, conferring a 35% prevalence of this group. No serum sample was positive for HBV DNA in the three groups.

Conclusion: Occult infection B is frequently detected in liver tissue of HCV-infected patients, especially in cases of hepatocellular carcinoma. However large studies are needed to confirm that co-infection could determine a worse progress of chronic liver disease in this population.

MeSH terms

  • Brazil
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / complications*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Female
  • Hepacivirus / genetics
  • Hepacivirus / immunology
  • Hepatitis B / complications*
  • Hepatitis B / diagnosis
  • Hepatitis B / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies / blood
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / blood
  • Hepatitis B virus / genetics
  • Hepatitis B virus / immunology
  • Hepatitis C / complications*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Liver Neoplasms / complications*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


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