To investigate the hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotype-related differences in the progression of liver disease, 585 patients with chronic HBV infection including 258 with histologically verified chronic liver disease (CLD) and 74 with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) were examined. The mean ages of both patients with advanced fibrosis (F3 or F4) and with HCC were significantly older in genotype B than in genotype C patients (P = .018, P = .024, respectively). Both the hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) negativity rate at biopsy and the cumulative HBe seroconversion rate in patients with CLD were significantly higher in genotype B patients than genotype C patients (P < .01, P = .022, respectively). Multivariate analysis revealed that genotype B, presence of precore mutation, high ALT levels, and severe histologic activity were independent factors for HBe seroconversion. Among all the biopsy-proven CLD patients, the ratio of patients with advanced fibrosis in genotype B was significantly lower than that in genotype C (4/30 vs. 74/224, respectively; P = .034). This difference was more remarkable in younger patients (≤45 years; 1/25 vs. 47/180, respectively; P = .020), and there was no difference in older patients (>45 years). The distribution of each genotype between CLD and HCC was very similar (B and C: 11.2% and 87.0% vs. 10.8% and 89.2%, respectively). In conclusion, our results suggest that, although the patients with genotype B experience earlier HBe seroconversion, slower progression of liver fibrosis, and slower development of HCC, the life-long risk of progression to advanced fibrosis and development of HCC may not differ among genotypes B- and C-related chronic liver disease.
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