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Gut. 2003 Jan;52(1):126-9.

Impact of smoking on histological liver lesions in chronic hepatitis C.

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  • 1Department of Hepatology-Gastroenterology, Hôpital Henri Mondor, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Université Paris XII, Créteil, France.



To examine the association between smoking and histological liver lesions in chronic hepatitis C, we studied 244 consecutive patients (152 men, 92 women; mean age 45.9 (12.6) years) with histologically proven chronic hepatitis C. Daily tobacco consumption during the six months preceding liver biopsy was recorded as the number of cigarettes smoked daily. Total lifetime tobacco consumption was recorded as the number of cigarette packs smoked per year (packs-years). Liver biopsy specimens were graded for histological activity and fibrosis according to the METAVIR scoring system.


The proportion of patients with moderate (A2) or marked (A3) activity increased gradually from 62.0% in non-smokers to 81.7% in patients who smoked more than 15 cigarettes per day (p<0.009). A similar relationship was observed with total lifetime tobacco consumption: 59.0% of patients who had never smoked had grade A2 or A3 disease activity compared with 84.6% of patients who smoked more than 20 packs per year (p<0.002). Multivariate analysis showed that age over 50 years (odds ratio (OR) 5.4), alcohol intake exceeding 20 g/day (OR 2.75), and tobacco consumption of more than 15 cigarettes/day (OR 3.6) were independently related to the histological activity score. No relationship was found between the severity of fibrosis and either daily tobacco consumption or total lifetime tobacco consumption. Multivariate analysis showed that only age over 50 years (OR 8.8), daily alcohol intake exceeding 30 g/day (OR 3.4), and histological activity score (OR 7.9) were independently related to the fibrosis score.


This study suggests that smoking, independent of alcohol, could aggravate the histological activity of chronic hepatitis C and that patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection should be advised to reduce or stop smoking.

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