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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2008 Nov 1;28(9):1067-77. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2008.03816.x. Epub 2008 Jul 24.

Meta-analysis: Treatment of hepatitis B infection reduces risk of hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Institute of Digestive Disease, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong, China.



Chronic hepatitis B (CHB) infection leads to development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but the effects of treatment in preventing HCC are not clear.


To study the effects of interferon (IFN) or nucleoside/tide analogue (NA) on the risk of developing HCC in CHB patients.


Randomized trials, case-control and cohort studies were retrieved from five electronic databases and international conferences over the past 10 years. Relative risks (RRs) of HCC with or without treatment were studied.


Twelve studies (n = 2742) enrolling patients treated by IFN vs. control showed that the risk of HCC after treatment was reduced by 34% (RR: 0.66, 95% CI: 0.48-0.89). Benefit is more significant among patients with early cirrhosis than among those without cirrhosis. Five studies (n = 2289) compared patients treated by NA with control. The risk of HCC after treatment was reduced by 78% (RR: 0.22, 95% CI: 0.10-0.50). HBeAg-positive patients showed more significantly reduced HCC risk with treatment. Patients without cirrhosis benefited more from NA than those with cirrhosis. Resistance to NA has obviated the benefit of the treatment.


IFN or NA treatment significantly reduces risk of HCC. While IFN benefited patients with cirrhosis, NA benefited patients with no cirrhosis and HBeAg-positive CHB infection.

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