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Keywords:

  • hepatocellular carcinoma;
  • hepatitis G virus

Summary. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are known to be associated with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), In this study, we investigated the prevalence of the newly described hepatitis G virus (HGV) in patients with HCC. The sera of 85 patients (66 male, 19 female, 61 ± 11 years) with HCC were studied for the presence of HGV RNA by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Seventeen (20%) of 85 patients with HCC, 10 (16%) of 61 patients with chronic hepatitis B without HCC and 14 (20%) of 68 patients with chronic hepatitis C without HCC were infected with HGV, a significantly higher proportion when compared with two (2%) of 85 healthy controls (P < 0.01). When grouped according to the underlying cause of liver disease, HCC patients with HBV infection (33%), HCV infection (21%), alcoholic liver disease (17%). or cryptogenic cirrhosis (15%) had similar serum levels of HGV RNA. Four of the 17 (24%) HGV-positive patients with HCC were coinfected with HBV and six (35%) with HCV; thus, 59% of HGV-positive patients with HCC were coinfected with other hepatotropic viruses. Seven (41%) HGV-positive patients were infected with HGV only. Patients with HGV infection were more likely to have a history of blood transfusion than patients without HGV infection (P= 0.024). Hence, the prevalence of HGV is significantly higher in patients with HCC in comparison with the healthy population.