Hepatitis C virus and hepatocellular carcinoma

Massimo Colombo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The sequential development of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients with transfusion-associated hepatitis was a clue leading to the identification of hepatitis C virus (HCV) as a risk factor for HCC. The incidence of HCV-related liver cancer is increasing in many developed countries: tumours arise in older patients, are almost invariably associated with cirrhosis and often have a less aggressive course than is seen in HCC related to other aetiological factors. Most HCCs grow as a single hepatic nodule for several years before generating satellite or distant tumour nodules. Tumour progression and hepatic failure are the leading causes of death. HCV might promote cancer through cirrhosis, which is per se an important risk factor for this tumour. HCV might also have oncogenic properties by interacting with cellular genes that regulate cell growth and differentiation. The primary prevention of HCC through vaccination against HCV is not yet available. The treatment of patients with chronic hepatitis C with interferon might attenuate the risk of HCC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-528
Number of pages10
JournalBailliere's Best Practice and Research in Clinical Gastroenterology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1999


  • Cirrhosis
  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Interferon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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