Hepatocellular carcinoma-associated single-nucleotide variants and deletions identified by the use of genome-wide high-throughput analysis of hepatitis B virus.
To evaluate the relationship between mutations and clinical courses, we investigated precore (preC) and core promoter (CP) mutations and serum HBV DNA levels in HBe-antibody-positive HBV carriers. Fifty-six asymptomatic carriers (ASC), 29 patients with chronic hepatitis who showed normal ALT levels for more than two years (CH-ASC), 31 patients with chronic hepatitis (CH), and 32 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) were studied. Almost all patients (99.2%) had mutations in either CP or preC. Mutation only in preC (A1896) was present in 52.2% with ASC, 25.0% with CH-ASC, 16.1% with CH, and 8.0% with HCC, and was significantly higher in ASC (P < 0.01). The patients with only preC mutation showed low HBV DNA levels in each clinical stage. The mutation of preC (A1896) prior to the mutation of CP might control the replication of HBV, which leads to the remission of hepatitis.