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Int J Cancer. 2013 Jul 15;133(2):437-45. doi: 10.1002/ijc.27993. Epub 2013 Feb 13.

Etiological and molecular profile of hepatocellular cancer from India.

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Department of Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cases are underreported in India. Our study was designed to investigate the etiological profile of HCC cases in India and compare with global incidence. The study included 348 HCC and 375 chronic liver disease cases without HCC as controls. Samples were screened for hepatitis B virus (HBV)/hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). HBV-DNA and HCV-RNA genotyping was performed by PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism. All cases were also assessed for other possible risk factors of HCC. Among HCC cases, 62.6% were positive for HBV, 26.7% for HCV and 3.2% had coinfection. Around 17% of HCC cases had aflatoxin-B1 exposure. HBV genotype D (odds ratio, OR = 1.76) and mixed genotypes (OR = 6.86) had higher risk of HCC development. The risk of HCC was twofold (OR = 2.26) in patients with high HBV-DNA levels. Moreover, our findings were unable to establish a clear differential effect of HCV genotype (OR = 1.48) and high viral load (OR = 1.21) on HCC development. In India, HBV is the major risk factors, whereas alcohol, smoking and diabetes are nonsignificantly associated. Asian countries such as Hong Kong and Taiwan also had high incidence of HBV-related HCC. Contrarily, countries from Europe and USA reported HCV as predominant cause of HCC. Further, aflatoxin could be a possible risk of HCC in the population. However, in comparison to the countries such as China and Taiwan (high Aflatoxin exposure), the aflatoxin level is relatively low in our patients. High HBV-DNA levels and HBV/D increased the risk of HCC. However, neither genotype nor virus loads of HCV affected prognosis of HCC patients in our study.

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