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Semin Liver Dis. 2006 May;26(2):153-61.

Hepatocellular carcinoma and hepatitis B virus.

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  • 1Institute of Digestive Diseases and Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China.


Chronic hepatitis B is the most common cause of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in Asia. Integration of hepatitis B virus (HBV) genome is likely an early event of carcinogenesis. The integrated HBV genome may activate neighboring cellular genes directly to offer a selective growth advantage to the liver cells. Production of hepatitis B X protein can act as a transactivator on various cellular genes for tumor development. Hepatic inflammation and cirrhosis also favors the process of carcinogenesis. Various viral factors associated with hepatocellular carcinoma development include HBV genotype, basal core promoter mutations, and high viral load. Polymorphisms at the androgen receptor-regulating genes and cytokine genes are possible host factors associated with HCC. This review article summarizes the pathogenesis of HBV-related carcinogenesis and the viral and host factors that may increase the risk of HCC development.

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