Comparison of full length sequences of hepatitis B virus isolates in hepatocellular carcinoma patients and asymptomatic carriers of Korea


  • Byung-Cheol Song and Hong Kim are contributed equally to this study.


Relatively few genomic sequences of Korean hepatitis B virus (HBV) isolates are available. Moreover, no comparative study has been made between the full-length genomes of Korean HBV isolates and clinical status. To evaluate mutations in HBV isolates obtained from chronically infected HBV patients in terms of clinical significance, we determined the genomic sequences of HBV isolates obtained from three hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients (He52, He53, and He82) and from three asymptomatic carriers (He74, He100, and He127). A comparison of sequence variations showed that the HBV isolates from the three HCC patients showed higher frequencies of mutation than the isolates from the three asymptomatic carriers. Three characteristic mutation patterns were identified in the HBV isolates from the HCC patients, which distinguished the HBV isolates from the asymptomatic carriers. First, HBV isolates from the three HCC patients both had double mutations in a core promoter (T1762/A1764) and a precore mutation (A1896). Second, although these isolates belonged to genotype C, 11 amino acids deletions in the preS1 region, specific for HBV genotype D, were detected in the isolates of two HCC patients (He52 and He82). Third, mutations (I127T/N, K130M, and V131I) at three codons in the carboxy functional region of X protein were observed in isolates from all three HCC patients. Additionally, phylogenetic analysis based on the entire HBV sequences showed that all six isolates belonged to genotype C2, as do other Korean strains. J. Med. Virol. 75:13–19, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.