Two hepatocellular carcinomas, induced in woodchucks chronically infected with woodchuck hepatitis virus, were characterized for viral integration near c-myc and alterations of c-myc expression. In one tumor, viral integration within the untranslated region of c-myc exon 3 resulted in overexpression of a long c-myc viral cotranscript. In the second tumor, a single insertion of highly rearranged viral sequences 600 bp upstream of c-myc exon 1 was associated with increased levels of normal c-myc mRNA. In both cases, viral enhancer insertion and disruption of normal c-myc transcriptional or posttranscriptional control appear to be involved in c-myc activation. These results demonstrate that integration of woodchuck hepatitis virus near a cellular proto-oncogene, as in several retroviral models, can contribute to the genesis of liver tumors.