The aim of the study was to investigate correlations between intrahepatic hepatitis B virus total DNA, covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA), and serum HBsAg in treatment-naïve chronic hepatitis B and HBV related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Liver tissues were taken from 42 HBV related HCC and 36 patients with chronic hepatitis B. A fraction of DNA extracted from liver tissue was digested with a plasmid-safe ATP-dependent DNase and used for HBV cccDNA detection. The remaining DNA was used for the detection of HBV total DNA and β-globin, the latter of which is a housekeeping gene and quantified for normalization by real-time PCR. Quantitation of serum HBsAg was performed by a chemiluminescence assay. Serum HBsAg had positive correlations with serum HBV DNA (r = 0.636, P < 0.001), intrahepatic HBV total DNA (r = 0.519, P = 0.001) and cccDNA (r = 0.733, P < 0.001) in 36 treatment-naïve chronic hepatitis B, while HBsAg correlated poorly with DNA (r = 0.224, P = 0.210), intrahepatic total DNA and cccDNA in the tumor (r = 0.351, P = 0.031; r = 0.164, P = 0.324, respectively) and non-tumor (r = 0.237, P = 0.152; r = 0.072, P = 0.667, respectively) liver tissues of 42 HCC. HBV cccDNA and total DNA were significantly higher in liver tissue from chronic hepatitis B than in tumor and non-tumor of HCC (P < 0.001). Serum HBsAg and HBV DNA were also higher in chronic hepatitis B than in HCC (P < 0.001). It was concluded that levels of serum HBsAg and intrahepatic cccDNA and total DNA were significantly higher in chronic hepatitis B than in HCC, and significant correlations among them were observed in treatment-naïve chronic hepatitis B but not in HCC. J. Med. Virol. 85:219–227, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.