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Genetic variability of hepatitis B and C viruses in Brazilian patients with and without hepatocellular carcinoma



Most cases of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are due to chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection worldwide. The aim of this study was to determine the viral genotypes and frequency of 17 mutations (15 for HBV and 2 for HCV), described previously as able to influence the course of chronic liver disease, in patients with and without HCC. This transversal study included 157 Brazilian patients with chronic hepatitis B (n = 51) and C (n = 106). Of these, 12 and 40 patients had HBV- and HCV-related HCC, respectively. Nucleotide sequencing of core promoter, pre-core, and pre-S/S regions of HBV and core region of HCV strains was performed to determine their genotypes and the frequency of the respective mutations. Among the HBV isolates, subgenotype A1 was the most prevalent in both patients with (90%) and without (61%) HCC. Fourteen out of the 15 mutations under study, as well as five different pre-S deletions, were identified. Core promoter T1753V, A1762T, and G1764A mutations were more frequent in patients with HCC than in those without, although with no statistical difference. However, a significant correlation was observed between T1753V mutation and elevation of transaminases levels (P < 0.05). As for HCV, mutation at residue 70 in the core protein of genotype 1b strains was significantly more frequent in patients with cirrhosis (56.3%) than in those without (9.1%) (P = 0.018). The detection of some key mutations in the genomes of HBV and HCV might be helpful to predict the clinical outcome of patients with chronic liver disease. J. Med. Virol. 86:217–223, 2014. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.