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Gastroenterology. 1993 Feb;104(2):595-603.

Pathological diagnosis of chronic hepatitis C: a multicenter comparative study with chronic hepatitis B. The Hepatitis Interventional Therapy Group.

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College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York.



Hepatic histological responses described in hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection include bile duct damage, lymphoid follicles and/or aggregates in portal tracts, large- and small-droplet fat, Mallory body-like material in hepatocytes, liver cell dysplasia and multinucleation, and activation of sinusoidal inflammatory cells. The specificity of these lesions for HCV infection is uncertain.


In two multicenter trials of recombinant interferon alfa therapy for chronic hepatitis C and B, the frequency of these eight lesions in pretherapy and posttherapy liver biopsy specimens was examined to determine the set of features, if any, that distinguishes HCV from hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. The lesions were scored in 317 HCV biopsy specimens and 299 HBV specimens.


Stepwise logistic regression determined a set of three features more likely to be seen in HCV than in HBV infection: bile duct damage [odds ratio (OR), 4.7; 95% confidence interval (Cl), 1.8-12.3], lymphoid follicles and/or aggregates (OR, 2.4; 95% Cl, 1.2-4.7), and large-droplet fat (OR, 2.4; 95% Cl, 1.4-4.1). A fourth lesion, Mallory body-like material, was seen only in HCV biopsy specimens (OR, 71.6; 95% Cl, 4.4-996.1).


These four histological lesions are useful pathological parameters in the diagnosis of liver disease caused by HCV.

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