Infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1b has been reported to be associated with more severe liver disease and an unfavorable outcome. Liver transplantation allows for a complete examination of the explanted liver for the detection of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Objective: To study the prevalence of HCC in patients with liver cirrhosis secondary to chronic infection with HCV genotype 1b compared with those infected with other genotypes.
Methods: Sera were collected from 48 consecutive patients undergoing liver transplantation for end stage liver disease secondary to HCV infection. RNA was extracted from serum using chaotropic lysis and isopropanol precipitation. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction of the NS5 region was performed, followed by automated sequencing on desalted amplification products. Genotype assignment followed Simmonds's classification. All explanted livers were examined for the presence of HCC.
Results: HCV genotypes in our patients were as follows: subtype 1a, 20 patients (42%); 1b, 18 patients (37.5%); 2a, one patient (2%); 2b, six patients (12.5%); 3a, one patient (2%); and 4a, two patients (4%). Although five of 18 patients infected with HCV genotype 1b (28%) had HCC, only one of 30 patients (3%) infected with all other genotypes (1a, 2a, 2b, 3a, and 4a) had HCC (p = 0.02).
Conclusion: Infection with HCV genotype 1b may carry a higher risk for the development of HCC than infection with other HCV genotypes.