Persistence of intrahepatic hepatitis B virus DNA inte-gration in patients developing hepatocellular carcino-ma after hepatitis B surface antigen seroclearance

Jeong Won Jang, Jin Seoub Kim, Hye Seon Kim, Kwon Yong Tak, Heechul Nam, Pil Soo Sung, Si Hyun Bae, Jong Young Choi, Seung Kew Yoon, Lewis R. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background/Aims: The role of hepatitis B virus (HBV) integration into the host genome in hepatocarcinogenesis following hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) seroclearance remains unknown. Our study aimed to investigate and characterize HBV integration events in chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients who developed hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after HBsAg seroclearance. Methods: Using probe-based HBV capturing followed by next-generation sequencing technology, HBV integration was examined in 10 samples (seven tumors and three non-tumor tissues) from seven chronic carriers who developed HCC after HBsAg loss. Genomic locations and patterns of HBV integration were investigated. Results: HBV integration was observed in six patients (85.7%) and eight (80.0%) of 10 tested samples. HBV integration breakpoints were detected in all of the non-tumor (3/3, 100%) and five of the seven (71.4%) tumor samples, with an average number of breakpoints of 4.00 and 2.43, respectively. Despite the lower total number of tumoral integration breakpoints, HBV integration sites in the tumors were more enriched within the genic area. In contrast, non-tumor tissues more often showed intergenic integration. Regarding functions of the affected genes, tumoral genes with HBV integration were mostly associated with carcinogenesis. At enrollment, patients who did not remain under regular HCC surveillance after HBsAg seroclearance had a large HCC, while those on regular surveillance had a small HCC. Conclusions: The biological functions of HBV integration are almost comparable between HBsAg-positive and HBsAg-serocleared HCCs, with continuing pro-oncogenic effects of HBV integration. Thus, ongoing HCC surveillance and clinical management should continue even after HBsAg seroclearance in patients with CHB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-218
Number of pages12
JournalClinical and Molecular Hepatology
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Hepatitis B surface antigens
  • Hepatitis B virus
  • Liver neoplasms
  • Population surveillance
  • Virus integration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Molecular Biology

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