Chronic hepatitis C virus infection increases mortality from hepatic and extrahepatic diseases: a community-based long-term prospective study

J Infect Dis. 2012 Aug 15;206(4):469-77. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jis385. Epub 2012 Jul 17.


Background: The study aimed to evaluate the risk of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection on hepatic and extrahepatic deaths.

Methods: A cohort of 23 820 adults aged 30-65 years old were enrolled during 1991-1992. The seromarkers hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), anti-HCV, and serum HCV RNA levels at study entry were tested. The vital status was ascertained through computerized linkage with national death certification profiles from 1991 to 2008.

Results: There were 19,636 HBsAg-seronegatives, including 18,541 anti-HCV seronegatives and 1095 anti-HCV seropositives. Among anti-HCV seropositives, 69.4% had detectable serum HCV RNA levels. There were 2394 deaths that occurred during an average follow-up period of 16.2 years. Compared with anti-HCV seronegatives, anti-HCV seropositives had higher mortality from both hepatic and extrahepatic diseases, showing multivariate-adjusted hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) of 1.89 (1.66-2.15) for all causes of death; 12.48 (9.34-16.66) for hepatic diseases; 1.35 (1.15-1.57) for extrahepatic diseases; 1.50 (1.10-2.03) for circulatory diseases; 2.77 (1.49-5.15) for nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis; 4.08 (1.38-12.08) for esophageal cancer; 4.19 (1.18-14.94) for prostate cancer; and 8.22 (1.36-49.66) for thyroid cancer. Anti-HCV seropositives with detectable HCV RNA levels had significantly higher mortality from hepatic and extrahepatic diseases than anti-HCV seropositives with undetectable HCV RNA.

Conclusions: Monitoring HCV RNA in anti-HCV seropositives is essential for the prediction of mortality associated with hepatitis C.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Hepatitis C Antibodies / blood
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / complications*
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • RNA, Viral / blood
  • Risk Assessment


  • Hepatitis C Antibodies
  • RNA, Viral