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Hepat Mon. 2011 Feb;11(2):86-91.

Genotypes, mutations, and viral load of hepatitis B virus and the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma: HBV properties and hepatocarcinogenesis.

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Department of Epidemiology, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, China.


Chronic infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) is the major risk factor for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) worldwide. Ten HBV genotypes (A-J) have been discovered so far. Genotypes B and C are endemic in East and Southeast Asia. Genotype C HBV is associated with increased risks of cirrhosis and HCC. Genotype B (B2) is associated with the development of HCC in non-cirrhotic patients younger than 50 years and with relapse of HCC after surgical treatment. It is also associated with earlier hepatitis B e antigen seroconversion than genotype C. High HBV load is independently associated with the occurrence and post-treatment recurrence of HCC. Different genotypes have distinct patterns of mutations. Viral mutations in the core promoter region and in the preS region are frequently found to be significantly associated with an increased risk of HCC. These mutations often occur before the onset of HCC and accumulate during the progression of chronic HBV infection. Multiple such mutations are more frequent in patients with HCC and are specific for HCC. HBV subgenotypes, viral mutations, and viral load can be used for the prediction of HCC. Early identification of HBV-infected individuals who will eventually develop HCC will help to develop active prophylactic protocols to reduce or delay the occurrence of HCC.


Genotype; Hepatitis B virus; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Mutation


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