Identification of integrated hepatitis B virus DNA sequences in human hepatocellular carcinomas

Hepatology. 1981 Jan-Feb;1(1):1-8. doi: 10.1002/hep.1840010102.


DNA extracts from hepatocellular carcinomas of 13 patients from South Africa were examined for hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA sequences by molecular hybridization using [32P]-labeled recombinant, cloned, and purified HBV-DNA. Eight patients were HBV carriers as demonstrated by the presence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) in their serum, and each of these patients and HBV-DNA sequences in hepatocellular carcinoma tissue. Five patients who were not HBsAg carriers, did not have HBV-DNA in their tumors. In DNA extracts from all tumors of patients who were HBsAg-positive, the HBV-DNA was integrated into the host genome. The integration pattern was unique for each tumor, but HBV-DNA bands of a given length were present in more than one specimen and in a human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line (PLC/PRF/5). These results suggest that integration of HBV-DNA into the human genome occurs in conjunction with malignant transformation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Autoradiography
  • Base Sequence
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / analysis*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis*
  • DNA, Viral / analysis*
  • Electrophoresis, Agar Gel
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / analysis
  • Hepatitis B virus / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / analysis*
  • Male


  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • DNA, Viral
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes