Possible contribution of prior hepatitis B virus infection to the development of hepatocellular carcinoma.J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2005; 20(6):850-6JG
The prevalence of prior hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients and its role in hepatocarcinogenesis are not clear. The aim of the present study is to clarify the importance of prior HBV infection in development of HCC.
Of 1288 consecutive HCC patients between January 1999 and October 2002, 1008 patients were enrolled. To determine the influence of prior HBV infection in hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-negative HCC, the prevalence of antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc) was examined according to age, and the clinical features were compared between the anti-HBc positive and the negative groups.
The proportion of HBsAg-negative HCC patients, HCC patients with antibody to hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV; C-HCC) and HCC patients negative for both HBsAg and anti-HCV (nBnC-HCC), increased with age. The anti-HBc-positive rates in C-HCC patients also increased with age. Those rates in nBnC-HCC patients were >50% in all age groups. Furthermore, it was found that the anti-HBc-positive rates of these patients were higher than those of corresponding control patients. Tumor size and a positive rate for vessel involvement both in C-HCC and nBnC-HCC patients were larger and higher, respectively, in anti-HBc-positive patients compared with anti-HBc-negative patients, although the difference in nBnC-HCC did not reach statistical significance because of the small numbers. These tumor characteristics were similar to those of B-HCC patients.
A possible contribution of prior HBV infection to the development of HCC is indicated.