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ABSTRACT: This study explored the importance of hepatitis B virus infection in cholangiocarcinoma pathogenesis in northern China. The clinical data of 66 patients with cholangiocarcinoma were analyzed. The hepatitis B virus gene was amplified using nested polymerase chain reaction, and the hepatitis B virus-related antigen was detected using immunohistochemistry in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue from patients with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (n = 23) and extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (n = 43). Hepatitis B surface antigen seropositivity was found in 52.2% (12/23) of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma cases and 13.9% (6/43) of extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma cases. Hepatitis B virus DNA (X region) was detectable in 34.8% (8/23) of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma cases. Hepatitis B surface antigen and/or hepatitis B core antigen was detectable in 30.4% (7/23) of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma cases. All cases with detected viral protein were also positive for hepatitis B virus DNA. In contrast, no hepatitis B virus antigens or hepatitis B virus gene was detected in any of the 43 extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma cases. Our findings strongly suggest that chronic hepatitis B virus infection is a significant risk factor for intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, but not for extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, in northern China. Hepatitis B virus infection is potentially independently associated with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma.