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High prevalence of anti-hepatitis B virus serological markers in patients with hepatitis C virus related chronic liver disease in Japan
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Abstract

BACKGROUND/AIMS Evidence is accumulating that hepatitis B virus (HBV) is present in patients who are hepatitis B surface antigen negative but have antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc). Furthermore, recent studies have shown that patients with hepatocellular carcinoma who have antibody to hepatitis C virus (HCV) often possess HBV related serological markers. Data on the seroprevalence of HBV infection in patients with HCV related chronic liver disease were collected to evaluate the significance of the presence of antibodies to HBV.

METHODS The prevalence of HBV related serological markers was analysed in a total of 2014 Japanese patients with HCV infection. The control group comprised 352 subjects without liver disorder.

RESULTS A large number of patients (49.9%) with HCV related chronic liver disease including hepatocellular carcinoma were positive for anti-HBc. In addition, the prevalence of anti-HBc closely correlated with the clinical stage of the liver disease. There was no relation between a past history of blood transfusion and the prevalence of anti-HBc. Notably, anti-HBc was the only serological marker for HBV infection in a significant number of patients with HCV related chronic liver disease (24.1%).

CONCLUSIONS Our data provide further evidence for the high prevalence of anti-HBc in patients with HCV related chronic liver disease, particularly those with hepatocellular carcinoma, suggesting that HBV infection, probably including latent infection, may play an important role in carcinogenesis in these patients.

  • hepatitis B virus
  • anti-HBc
  • hepatitis C virus
  • hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Abbreviations used in this paper

    HCV
    hepatitis C virus
    HBV
    hepatitis B virus
    HBc
    hepatitis B core
    HCC
    hepatocellular carcinoma
    HBsAg
    hepatitis B surface antigen
    CH
    chronic hepatitis
    LC
    liver cirrhosis
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  • Abbreviations used in this paper

    HCV
    hepatitis C virus
    HBV
    hepatitis B virus
    HBc
    hepatitis B core
    HCC
    hepatocellular carcinoma
    HBsAg
    hepatitis B surface antigen
    CH
    chronic hepatitis
    LC
    liver cirrhosis
  • View Full Text

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