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Liver Int. 2009 Jan;29(1):133-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1478-3231.2008.01786.x. Epub 2008 May 23.

Clinical and histological impact of previous hepatitis B virus infection in patients with chronic hepatitis C.

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  • 1Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatitis Section, Federal University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil. roberto.jcf@uol.com.br



Recent reports suggest that hepatitis C virus (HCV) carriers with serological markers of prior hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection have more advanced liver fibrosis, irrespective of HBV-DNA detection.


We sought to assess the prevalence and impact of previous HBV infection in patients with HCV chronic infection.


This cross-sectional study included hepatitis B surface antigen- and human immunodeficiency virus-negative subjects with positive HCV-RNA. All patients had prior parenteral exposure as the probable source of HCV infection. Serum samples were tested for HBV-DNA using a commercial assay. The METAVIR system was used for histological analysis.


One-hundred and eleven patients were evaluated. Thirty-one out of 111 patients (28%) tested positive for antihepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc). HBV-DNA was not detected in any sample. Anti-HBc-positive patients showed higher histological grading, staging and a higher fibrosis progression rate. By multivariate analysis, anti-HBc-positivity was predictive of moderate to severe activity [odds ratio (OR)=3.532; P=0.032] and significant hepatic fibrosis (OR=3.364; P=0.017). After approximately 20 years of infection, advanced liver fibrosis (F3/F4) can be expected in 13% of anti-HBc-negative subjects who acquired HCV before the age of 30 and in 57% of those anti-HBc-positive patients who were infected by HCV after 30 years of age (P<0.001).


Previous HBV infection is common among HCV carriers and may exert a negative impact on the natural history of HCV infection, independently of the presence of significant HBV replication.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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