Although hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related cirrhosis has been suggested as a risk factor for intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC), few sizeable studies have tested this hypothesis. We investigated ICC risk factors, with special reference to HCV infection. We conducted a hospital-based case-control study including 50 ICC patients and 205 other surgical patients without primary liver cancer. HCV seropositivity was detected in 36% of ICC patients and 3% of controls. By univariate analysis, the odds ratio (OR) for association of anti-HCV antibodies with development was 16.87 (95% confidence interval (CI), 5.69 to 50.00). History of blood transfusion or diabetes mellitus, elevated serum total bilirubin, elevated aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotrans-ferase, decreased serum albumin and decreased platelet count were identified as other possible ICC risk factors. By multivariate analysis, anti-HCV antibodies (adjusted OR, 6.02; 95% Cl, 1.51 to 24.1), elevated alanine aminotransferase, decreased serum albumin, and decreased platelet count were found to be independent risk factors for ICC development. As liver status worsened, the adjusted OR for ICC tended to increase. HCV infection is a likely etiology of ICC in Japan.