Factors predicting occurrence and prognosis of hepatitis-B-virus-related hepatocellular carcinoma

Yi-Fang Han, Jian-Hua Yin, Wen-Jun Chang, Hong-Wei Zhang, Guang-Wen Cao, Department of Epidemiology, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai 200433, China.
World Journal of Gastroenterology (Impact Factor: 2.37). 10/2011; 17(38):4258-70. DOI: 10.3748/wjg.v17.i38.4258
Source: PubMed


Primary liver cancer is an important cause of cancer death, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) accounts for 70%-85% of total liver cancer worldwide. Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection contributes to > 75% of HCC cases. High serum viral load is the most reliable indicator of viral replication in predicting development of HCC. HBV genotype C is closely associated with HCC in cirrhotic patients aged > 50 years, whereas genotype B is associated with development of HCC in non-cirrhotic young patients and postoperative relapse of HCC. Different HBV subgenotypes have distinct patterns of mutations, which are clearly associated with increased risk of HCC. Mutations accumulate during chronic HBV infection and predict occurrence of HCC. Chronic inflammation leads to increased frequency of viral mutation via cellular cytidine deaminase induction. Mutations are negatively selected by host immunity, whereas some immuno-escaped HBV mutants are active in hepatocarcinogenesis. Inflammatory pathways contribute to the inflammation-necrosis-regeneration process, ultimately HCC. Their hallmark molecules can predict malignancy in HBV-infected subjects. Continuing inflammation is involved in hepatocarcinogenesis and closely related to recurrence and metastasis. HBV load, genotype C, viral mutations and expression of inflammatory molecules in HBV-related HCC tissues are significantly associated with poor prognosis. Imbalance between intratumoral CD8(+) T cells and regulatory T cells or Th1 and Th2 cytokines in peritumoral tissues can predict prognosis of HBV-related HCC. These factors are important for developing active prevention and surveillance of HBV-infected subjects who are more likely to develop HCC, or for tailoring suitable treatment to improve survival or postpone postoperative recurrence of HCC.

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    • "Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a global health problem, affecting more than 2 billion people worldwide, of whom approximately 350 million suffer from HBV-induced chronic liver diseases (1, 2). Depending on the interactions between the host and the virus, the natural course of HBV infection can be highly heterogeneous (3). Chronic HBV infection is diagnosed by detection of serum hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), however, sometimes HBV infection can be presented in the absence of serum HBsAg, which is known as occult HBV status (OHBS). "
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    ABSTRACT: Occult hepatitis B virus (HBV) status (OHBS) is simply defined as the presence of HBV DNA in the liver (with or without detectable HBV DNA in the serum), in the absence of serum HBV surface antigen (HBsAg). Importance of OHBS is mostly clinical, related to its possible role in spreading through blood transfusion and liver transplantation; causing classic forms of HBV. Mechanisms underlying this entity are poorly defined. Several possibilities have been suggested, with major classification into two groups: defective host immune response and viral replication activity through mutations of HBV DNA sequence. Mutations are extensively investigated in all four overlapping open reading frames (ORFs) of HBV genome, to define their possible role in the pathogenesis of OHBS. Some of these mutations like S-escape mutants could not be detected by the routine available assays, making them difficult to diagnosis. Therefore, trying to detect this covert condition could be more helpful for defining better preventive and therapeutic strategies. In the present study we provided an in-depth review of the most important new data available on different mutations in HBV genome of patients with OHBS, which may play a role in the pathogenesis of OHBS. The data were collected through reviewing the full-text articles, identified by the PubMed search, using the following keywords and their different combinations: occult hepatitis B, HBV genome, "a" determinant, HBV open reading frames, S mutations, X mutations, P mutations and C mutations. Variants within the major hydrophilic region (MHR) of the HBsAg, deletions in the pre-S1region, codon stop in the S open reading frames (ORF), sporadic non common mutations, some mutations affecting the posttranslational production of HBV proteins in the S ORF like deletion mutations, mutations in start codon and nucleotide changes in the X ORF, deletion and point mutations in P ORF and sometimes, nucleotide substitution in the C ORF are among the assumed mutations detected to have a role in OHBS appearance. Studies mostly lacked a control group and the whole-length HBV sequencing was scant with conflicting results, suggesting that OHBS is often a result of multiple mechanisms. Additional studies on full-length HBV genomes from occult and non-occult HBV cases may shed more light on the interplay between different mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of OHBS.
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    • "Serious endemicity of HBV infection is present in China. In a literature review, Han et al. [11] reported that a high serum viral load is the most reliable indicator of viral replication in predicting development of HCC (serum viral load of ≥104 copies/mL for HCC occurrence and 104 copies/mL for a poor prognosis). In addition, HBV genotype C is closely associated with HCC in cirrhotic patients aged ≥ 50 years, whereas genotype B is associated with development of HCC in noncirrhotic young patients (< 50 years) and postoperative relapse of HCC. "
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    ABSTRACT: We studied the relationships among Cx43, CD105, and VEGF in specimens of hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with different serum AFP levels with respect to recurrence and metastasis. Expressions of Cx43, CD105, and VEGF in 234 HCC tissue specimens were examined using tissue microarray and immunohistochemistry. Cx43 mRNA expression was examined in 38 frozen HCC specimens using RT-PCR. Correlations between these expressions and tumor recurrence, metastasis, and prognosis were analyzed using Kaplan--Meier and Cox regression analyses. Cx43 expression correlated with early tumor recurrence (P = 0.001), disease-free survival (P = 0.026), and overall survival (P = 0.000) in patients with serum AFP < 400 ng/ml, but not in those with serum AFP >= 400 mug/L. Cx43 expression is an independent predictor of later recurrence and longer overall survival and is inversely correlated with expression of CD105 and VEGF (P = 0.018 and 0.023, respectively), histological differentiation (P = 0.002), vessel tumor embolism (P = 0.029), and focal number (P = 0.017). Immunohistochemistry showed that Cx43 expression in patients with low AFP was lower in patients with distant metastases than in those with no metastasis or those with liver metastasis. Patients with early recurrence expressed less Cx43 mRNA than did those with no recurrence (chi2 = 9.827, P = 0.002). Cx43 expression can delay early HCC recurrence, metastasis, and poor prognosis after radical hepatectomy in patients with HBV-related HCC and low AFP.
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