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J Hepatol. 2006 Oct;45(4):553-9. Epub 2006 Jun 23.

Quantification of hepatitis B virus covalently closed circular DNA in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Department of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong SAR, China.



This study aimed to measure the intrahepatic total hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA and covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA) levels in tumor and non-tumor tissues in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients.


Intrahepatic total HBV DNA and cccDNA were measured in 25 HCC patients (21 hepatitis B surface antigen [HBsAg]-positive and 4 HBsAg-negative) by the Invader assay.


A low level of intrahepatic HBV DNA was detectable in all HBsAg-negative patients. For HBsAg-positive patients, the intrahepatic total HBV DNA levels in the tumor and non-tumor tissues were comparable (P=0.903). However, the tumor tissues had significantly higher levels of cccDNA (0.35 vs. 0.16 copies/cell, P=0.030) and higher proportion of intrahepatic HBV DNA in the form of cccDNA (100% vs. 84%, P=0.004) than the non-tumor tissues. Seventeen out of 21 (81%) tumor tissues had intrahepatic HBV DNA solely in cccDNA form. Analysis of HBV mRNA expression indicated that HBV replication appeared to be lower in the tumor tissues than the non-tumor tissues.


Compared to the non-tumor tissues, the levels of HBV replication in the tumor tissues appeared to be lower, and cccDNA was the predominant form of HBV DNA in the tumor tissues.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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