Chronic infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a major risk factor for the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The pathogenesis of HBV-associated HCC involves both viral and host factors. The latter include a functionally inefficient CD8+ T-cell response that fails to clear the infection from the liver but sustains a chronic necroinflammatory process that contributes to the development of HCC. According to this scenario, amelioration of immune-mediated chronic liver injury may prevent HCC. Because platelets facilitate immune-mediated liver injury by promoting the hepatic accumulation of virus-specific CD8+ T cells, we evaluated the long-term consequences of antiplatelet therapy in an HBV transgenicmousemodel of chronic immune-mediated necroinflammatory liver disease that progresses to HCC. Treatment with aspirin and clopidogrel during the chronic phase of the disease diminished the number of intrahepatic HBV-specific CD8+ T cells and HBV-nonspecific inflammatory cells, the severity of liver fibrosis, and the development of HCC. Anti-platelet therapy improved overall survival without causing significant side effects. In contrast, the same antiplatelet regimen had no antitumor effect when HCC was induced nonimmunologically by chronic exposure to a hepatotoxic chemical. The unprecedented observation that antiplatelet therapy inhibits or delays immune-mediated hepatocarcinogenesis suggests that platelets may be key players in the pathogenesis of HBV-associated liver cancer and supports the notion that immune-mediated necroinflammatory reactions are an important cause of hepatocellular transformation during chronic hepatitis.
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 7 2012|
- Antiplatelet drugs
- CD8 T cells
- Viral hepatitis
ASJC Scopus subject areas