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Recent Dev Alcohol. 1998;14:457-69.

Interrelationship between alcohol intake, hepatitis C, liver cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Osaka Rosai Hospital, Japan.


The discovery of a cDNA clone of hepatitis C virus (HCV) genome in 1989 has resulted in numerous reports of high rates of the prevalence of HCV antibody in patients with alcoholic liver disease, in particular, alcoholic liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Thus, the interaction between alcohol intake and HCV infection has become of great importance. In terms of the effect of alcohol on HCV-RNA levels, the data are controversial; in some reports, alcohol increases HCV-RNA levels, and in the other reports it does not. There are several reports suggesting the possibility of an elevated quasi-species of hypervariable region 1 in the HCV genome caused by alcohol drinking. Recent studies have documented that alcohol intake exaggerates the responsiveness of interferon therapy for chronic hepatitis C; however, its mechanism is still obscure. Several studies have suggested the promoting effect of alcohol on the development of hepatocellular carcinoma in type C liver cirrhosis, which has been similarly observed in type B chronic liver disease, whereas its mechanism is limited to speculations.

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