Disease progression and hepatocellular carcinogenesis in patients with chronic viral hepatitis: a prospective observation of 2215 patients

J Hepatol. 1998 Jun;28(6):930-8. doi: 10.1016/s0168-8278(98)80339-5.


Background/aims/methods: The aim of this study was to elucidate the rate of development to cirrhosis and the rate of appearance of hepatocellular carcinoma in chronic viral hepatitis and to assess the risk factors for the development of disease in 2215 consecutive patients with viral hepatitis who were prospectively studied for a median observation period of 4.1 years.

Results: The rates of development to cirrhosis were 7.6%, 21.7%, and 32.2%, at the 5th, 10th, and 15th year, respectively. The carcinogenesis rates were 3.4%, 10.5%, and 22.4% at the 5th, 10th, and 15th year, respectively. The appearance rates of cancer in 645 patients with only hepatitis B surface antigen and in 1500 patients with only anti-hepatitis C virus antibodies were 2.1% and 4.8% at the 5th year, 4.9% and 13.6% at the 10th year, and 18.8% and 26.0% at the 15th year, respectively. The proportional hazard model identified that the amount of alcohol intake (p= 0.0002) and the indocyanine green retention rate (p= 0.022) were independently associated with carcinogenesis in hepatitis type B; and stage of hepatitis (p<0.0001), gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (p= 0.0046), history of blood transfusion (p=0.0093), albumin (p=0.012), and amount of alcohol intake (p= 0.031) were independently associated with the carcinogenesis rate in hepatitis type C. Although the severity of portal fibrosis was closely correlated with the future disease development and carcinogenesis in chronic hepatitis C, it was not a good predictor in chronic hepatitis B.

Conclusion: These epidemiological results suggest that there are some differences in the activity and modes of disease progression and cancer promotion between hepatitis B virus infection and hepatitis C virus infection.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / blood
  • Blood Transfusion
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / epidemiology*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / etiology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / blood
  • Hepatitis C / complications*
  • Hepatitis C / diagnosis
  • Hepatitis C Antibodies / blood
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / epidemiology*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / etiology
  • Liver Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Liver Neoplasms / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Serum Albumin / analysis
  • Time Factors
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase / blood


  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens
  • Hepatitis C Antibodies
  • Serum Albumin
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases
  • Alanine Transaminase