Surrogate markers of liver fibrosis are needed as an alternative to liver biopsy, which is invasive and life-threatening. Peripheral blood fibrocytes (PBF) are considered to be involved in systemic fibrogenic processes. We measured the level of PBF in patients with chronic hepatitis C by enrolling 70 patients affected with chronic hepatitis C, 20 patients with HCV-positive decompensated cirrhosis and 30 healthy volunteers. All patients underwent liver biopsy and Fibroscan for fibrosis assessment. Patients with chronic hepatitis C had significantly higher levels of PBF in comparison with healthy individuals and decompensated cirrhotics. Patients in the F0-F1 stage had a percentage of PBF of 23.3+/-4%, significantly lower (p<0.001) than in F2 and F3 stages. Patients in the F4 stage had a PBF rate of 50.6+/-2% (p<0.001 versus the F0, F1 and F2 stages). The percentage of PBF correlated positively with the Metavir score and the liver stiffness as measured by Fibroscan. PBF are increased in patients with HCV infection and correlate with the histological stage of liver fibrosis.