Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are the most common causes of chronic liver disease, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. The influence of HCV infection on the clinicopathological and virological profiles of chronic HBV infection was investigated.
A total of 100 chronic HBV carriers with histopathological diagnoses by liver biopsy were studied. Hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) and anti-HCV antibody were tested. Serum HCV-RNA was detected by using a nested reverse transcription–PCR assay. A branched DNA (bDNA) assay was used to detect HBV-DNA and quantitate the serum levels.
Eighteen (18%) of 100 patients were positive for anti-HCV and HCV-RNA. Patients with concurrent HCV and HBV infection were significantly older than those without HCV infection (P < 0.05). The positive rates of HBeAg and HBV-DNA as well as the serum levels of HBV-DNA in patients with concurrent HCV and HBV infection were significantly lower than those without concurrent HCV and HBV infection (P < 0.01, P < 0.05, and P < 0.001, respectively). By using multivariate analysis, the factors of seroconversion of HBeAg and decreasing level of HBV-DNA were significantly correlated to concurrent HCV and HBV infection in chronic HBV carriers. The factors of increasing age and concurrent HCV and HBV infection were significantly correlated to seroconversion of HBeAg.
The concurrent HCV and HBV infection in chronic HBV carriers might result in a suppression of HBV replication that presented with a lower level of serum HBV-DNA and HBeAg seroconversion. Nevertheless, neither more obvious increase in biochemical parameters nor histopathological progression to more advanced liver diseases was observed.