Most patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) have viral hepatitis, either hepatitis C (HCV) or hepatitis B (HBV). HCV is an RNA virus that does not integrate into the host genome but likely induces HCC through viral protein: for example, host protein interactions or via the inflammatory response to the virus. Eradication of HCV with interferon plus riboviron therapy may help prevent cancer recurrence in selected patients. In contrast to HCV, HBV is an DNA virus that integrates into the host genome, and this integration is believed, in part, to be carcinogenic. HBV is usually classified as replicative (DNA-positive in the serum) or nonreplicative (DNA-negative in the serum). Treatment with nucleoside analogs is indicated in most patients with cirrhotic-stage replicating HBV. Nonreplicative stages of this virus do not merit therapy with these agents.
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