HCV genotype 3 is associated with a higher hepatocellular carcinoma incidence in patients with ongoing viral C cirrhosis

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SUMMARY.Liver steatosis is a main histopathological feature of Hepatitis C (HCV) infection because of genotype 3. Steatosis and/or mechanisms underlying steatogenesis can contribute to hepatocarcinogenesis. The aim of this retrospective study was to assess the impact of infection with HCV genotype 3 on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) occurrence in patients with ongoing HCV cirrhosis. Three hundred and fifty-three consecutive patients (193 men, mean age 58 ± 13 years), with histologically proven HCV cirrhosis and persistent viral replication prospectively followed and screened for HCC between 1994 and 2007. Log-rank test and Cox model were used to compare the actuarial incidence of HCC between genotype subgroups. The patients infected with a genotype 3 (n = 25) as compared with those infected with other genotypes (n = 328) had a lower prothrombin activity [78 (interquartile range 60–85) vs 84 (71–195) %, P = 0.03] and higher rate of alcohol abuse (48%vs 29%, P = 0.046). During a median follow-up of 5.54 years [2.9–8.6], 11/25 patients (44%) and 87/328 patients (26%) with a genotype 3 and non-3 genotype, respectively, develop a HCC. HCC incidences were significantly different among the genotype subgroups (P = 0.001). The 5-year occurrence rate of HCC was 34% (95% CI, 1.3–6.3) and 17% (95% CI, 5.7–9.2) in genotype 3 and non-3 genotype groups, respectively (P = 0.002). In multivariate analysis, infection with a genotype 3 was independently associated with an increased risk of HCC occurrence [hazard ratio 3.54 (95% CI, 1.84–6.81), P = 0.0002], even after adjustment for prothrombin activity and alcohol abuse [3.58 (1.80–7.13); P = 0.003]. For patients with HCV cirrhosis and ongoing infection, infection with genotype 3 is independently associated with an increased risk of HCC development.

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