Granulomas and hepatitis C

Histopathology. 1996 Mar;28(3):265-7. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2559.1996.d01-418.x.


Hepatitis C (HCV) is associated with a number of characteristic histological features. A recent paper has identified an increased frequency of granulomas in resection specimens from cases of HCV. We have carried out a retrospective study of 155 cases of HCV to assess the frequency of granulomas in biopsy specimens. We had two control groups: 151 cases of hepatitis B (HBV) and 129 cases of alcohol induced liver disease. Granulomas were found in 14 cases of HCV (10%), three cases of HBV (2%) and three cases of alcohol induced liver disease (2%). Granulomas were significantly commoner in cases of HCV than in the other two groups. Of the 14 cases of HCV, the granulomas could be ascribed to another cause in seven cases. When the analysis was carried out, excluding those granulomas which could be ascribed to another cause, they were still significantly commoner in cases of HCV. We conclude that granulomas are more frequent in HCV but that in half of cases in which they are found another cause can be identified. This means that if granulomas are seen in association with hepatitis C another aetiology should be sought before ascribing them to HCV.

MeSH terms

  • Granuloma / pathology*
  • Granuloma / virology
  • Hepatitis B / pathology
  • Hepatitis C / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Liver Diseases, Alcoholic / pathology
  • Liver Diseases, Alcoholic / virology
  • Retrospective Studies