Hepatitis B and C viruses are the main causative agents of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The influence of hepatitis viral status on liver resection for HCC remains undetermined.


Patients who underwent curative resection for HCC were divided into four groups: group 1, seronegative for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and antihepatitis C antibody (HCVAb); group 2, seropositive for HBsAg only; group 3, seropositive for HCVAb only; and group 4, seropositive for HBsAg and HCVAb. The clinicopathological characteristics and surgical results of the four groups were compared. Resection of HCC was determined according to liver functional reserve and tumour extent.


There were 40, 131, 70 and 20 patients in groups 1, 2, 3 and 4 respectively. Due to patient selection bias, there were significant differences in some background features, resectional extent and pathological characteristics among the four groups. Postoperative morbidity and mortality, as well as the Union Internacional Contra la Cancrum tumour node metastasis stages, did not differ. Patients in group 1 had a higher disease-free survival rate than those in group 2 (P = 0·02). The actuarial survival rates of patients in groups 2 and 4 were lower than those of groups 1 and 3.


With careful patient selection, the hepatitis viral status does not influence the surgical risks of hepatectomy for HCC. After liver resection for HCC, the long-term survival rate of patients seronegative for HBsAg is greater than that of patients seropositive for HBsAg. © 1999 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd