Korean J Gastroenterol.  2013 Sep;62(3):160-164. 10.4166/kjg.2013.62.3.160.

Occult Hepatitis B Virus Infection and Hepatocellular Carcinoma

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Gachon University Gil Medical Center, Gachon University School of Medicine, Incheon, Korea. kos@gilhospital.com


Many studies have suggested that occult HBV infection has a substantial clinical relevance to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Occult HBV infection is an important risk factor for the development of cirrhosis and HCC in patients without HBsAg. As a matter of fact, occult HBV infection is one of the most common causes of crytogenic HCC in endemic areas of HBV. However, there still are controversial issues about the association between occult HBV infection and HCC according to the underlying liver disease. In alcoholic cirrhosis, occult HBV infection may exert synergistic effect on the development of HCC. However, there is insufficient evidence to relate occult HBV infection to hepatocarcinogenesis in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. In cryptogenic HCC, occult HBV infection may play a direct role in the development of HCC. In order to elucidate the assocciation between occult HBV infection and HCC, underlying liver disease must be specified and larger number of cases must be included in future studies.


Occult Hepatitis B virus infection; Hepatitis B virus; Hepatocelluar carcinoma
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