Specific Mutations in the Enhancer II/Core Promoter/Precore Regions of Hepatitis B Virus Subgenotype C2 in Korean Patients With Hepatocellular Carcinoma

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Recently, hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotypes and mutations have been reported to be related to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This cross-sectional case-control study examined the relationship between HCC and mutations in the enhancer II/core promoter and precore regions of HBV by comparing 135 Korean HCC patients infected with HBV genotype C2 (HBV/C2; HCC group) with 135 age-, sex-, and hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) status-matched patients without HCC (non-HCC group). Age and sex were also matched between HBeAg-positive and -negative patients. The prevalence of T1653, A1689, V1753, T1762/A1764, T1846, A1850, C1858, and A1896 mutations was evaluated in this population. The prevalence of the T1653 mutation in the box a region, the A1689 mutation in between the box a and β regions, and the T1762/A1764 mutations in the basal core promoter region was significantly higher in the HCC group compared to the non-HCC group (8.9% vs. 2.2%, P=0.017; 19.3% vs. 4.4%, P<0.001; and 60.7% vs. 22.2%; P<0.001). Among HBeAg-negative patients, the frequency of the T1653 mutation was higher in the HCC group. Regardless of HBeAg status, the prevalence of the A1689, and T1762/A1764 mutations was higher in the HCC group than in the non-HCC group. However, no association was observed between mutations in the precore region and HCC. Upon multivariate analysis, the presence of the T1653, A1689, and T1762/A1764 mutations was an independent predictive factor for HCC. The addition of the T1653 or A1689 mutation to T1762/A1764 increased the risk of HCC. In conclusion, the T1653, A1689, and/or T1762/A1764 mutations were associated with the development of HCC in Korean patients infected with HBV/C2.

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