alexa Occult hepatitis B infection and HBV replicative activity in patients with cryptogenic cause of hepatocellular carcinoma
Microbiology

Microbiology

Clinical Microbiology: Open Access

Author(s): Danny Ka Ho Wong, Fung Yu Huang, Ching Lung Lai, Ronnie Tung Ping Poon, Wai Kay Seto

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We aimed to investigate the incidence of occult hepatitis B infection (OBI) in patients with "cryptogenic" hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and to study the HBV replicative activity in these patients. Tumorous and adjacent nontumorous liver tissues were obtained from 33 cryptogenic HCC patients and 28 HCC patients with identifiable causes (13 with chronic hepatitis B [CHB], six with chronic hepatitis C, and nine alcohol-related). OBI was identified by nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Intrahepatic HBV DNA, covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA), and pregenomic RNA (pgRNA) were quantified by real-time PCR and reverse-transcription PCR (RT-PCR), respectively. OBI was identified in 24 (73%) cryptogenic HCC patients, one (17%) HCC patient with HCV, and five (56%) patients with alcohol-related HCC. In HCC patients with OBI, HBV DNA were detected in ≥2 HBV genomic regions more often in nontumorous tissues than in tumorous tissues (90% versus 57%, respectively; P = 0.007). Cryptogenic HCC patients with OBI had lower intrahepatic total HBV DNA levels than HCC patients with CHB (median: 0.010 versus 3.19 copies/cell, respectively; P < 0.0001). Only six (26%) cryptogenic HCC patients with OBI had detectable cccDNA (median: <0.0002 copies/cell), which was significantly lower than that of the CHB patients (median: 0.005 copies/cell; P < 0.0001). HBV pgRNA were detectable in 12 (52%) cryptogenic HCC patients with OBI (median: 0.0001 copies/cell), which was significantly lower than that of the CHB patients (median: 2.90 copies/cell; P < 0.001).

This article was published in Hepatology and referenced in Clinical Microbiology: Open Access

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