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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Relation of the hepatitis B virus carrier state to hepatocellular carcinoma.

The attempt to divide the large group of chronic HBsAg carriers into "healthy" vs. those with chronic hepatitis of various intensities is sometimes difficult. The major problems are overlap in clinical manifestations, hepatic test results and histologic as well as virologic features. Nevertheless, this separation is not only conceptually important, but may also be useful in patient management, particularly because of the risk of transition to cirrhosis and HCC. Although at least 75% of patients with HCC associated with HBV have cirrhosis, the time point at which the cirrhosis developed is not established, particularly since the vast majority of chronic HBsAg carriers fall into the "healthy" category. Important unanswered questions are, therefore: how often do "healthy" carriers develop cirrhosis and/or HCC, including the time relations between the two? Does the transformation to HCC result from one or several identifiable acute events in the "healthy" carrier (or in mild CPH) or is it a gradual process of progressing chronic hepatitis B in which intercurrent exacerbations may still play a role? Do the quantitative observations as to the relation between persistent HBV infections and HCC in the East apply to Western countries? Our hypothesis concerning pathogenesis is based on pathologic, molecular, clinical and epidemiologic observations and concepts, and is supported by studies of hepadna virus-infected animals. This thesis proposes that integration of HBV DNA into host chromosomes in acute or chronic hepatitis or during the "healthy" carrier state corresponds to an initiation event similar to that described in chemical carcinogenesis.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)[1]


  1. Relation of the hepatitis B virus carrier state to hepatocellular carcinoma. Popper, H., Shafritz, D.A., Hoofnagle, J.H. Hepatology (1987) [Pubmed]
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