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J Hepatol. 2009 Jun;50(6):1142-54. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2009.01.019. Epub 2009 Mar 20.

Hepatitis C virus genotype 1b as a risk factor for hepatocellular carcinoma development: a meta-analysis.

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Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, European Institute of Oncology, Via Ripamonti 435, 20141 Milan, Italy.



Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a known risk factor for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but whether the risk varies among patients infected with different HCV genotypes is still controversial. We performed a meta-analysis to clarify whether the genotype 1b is associated with a higher risk of HCC than other genotypes.


We identified 57 relevant papers through a literature search to December 2007 but, since age could represent a major confounder, we focused the meta-analysis on the 21 studies presenting age-adjusted risk estimates for HCV genotype 1b vs. other genotypes. We used random-effects models with the DerSimonian-Laird method and assessed heterogeneity between studies and publication bias.


Patients infected with HCV genotype 1b have almost double the risk to develop HCC than those infected with other genotypes (Relative Risk (95% Confidence Intervals) = 1.78(1.36-2.32)). The pooled risk estimate was somewhat lower when we restricted the analysis to the eight studies conducted in patients with liver cirrhosis (1.60;1.07-2.39) or considering the 36 studies presenting only crude data (1.63;1.30-2.06). In seven studies excluding patients with liver cirrhosis, the RR (95% CI) increased to 2.46(1.69-3.59).


This meta-analysis suggests that HCV genotype 1b plays an important role in HCC development, especially in patients with early stage liver disease.

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