Similarities and Differences in Hepatitis B and C Virus Induced Hepatocarcinogenesis

Erzsébet SZABÓ, Csilla PÁSKA, Pál KAPOSI NOVÁK, Zsuzsa SCHAFF, András KISS

2nd Department of Pathology, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the major manifestation of primary liver cancer, is one of the most frequent and malignant diseases worldwide. Among other environmental factors, hepatitis viruses, as the hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV) viruses, are to be listed in the etiology of HCC. Both of these viruses cause a wide spectrum of clinical manifestations, ranging from healthy carrier state to acute and chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis and HCC. HBV and HCV are different viruses in structure: HBV contains a DNA genome which replicates through an RNA intermediate and requires an active viral reverse transcriptase (RT) polymerase enzyme, while HCV is an RNA virus which has no RT activity and replicates on the cellular membrane by RNA replication. In this review we discuss how these two biologically diverse viruses use common pathways to induce hepatocarcinogenesis despite their significant structural and viral cycle differences. A summary is also given of several observable common and different features. Direct integration of HBV viral sequences into the host genome increases the genomic instability, which does not occur in HCV infection. However, viral proteins may directly play a significant role in the induction of carcinogenesis by both viruses. Pathology & Oncology Research, Vol 10, Nr 1, 5-11, 2004

Key words: hepatitis B virus; hepatitis C virus; hepatocellular carcinoma; hepatocarcinogenesis

Received: Dec 23, 2003; accepted: Feb 10, 2004
Correspondence: Zsuzsa SCHAFF, 2nd Department of Pathology, Semmelweis University, Üllôi u. 93. Budapest H-1091, Hungary; Tel: 36-1-215-6921, Fax: 36-1-215-6921; E-mail:

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