Key clinical point: Hepatitis B core–related antigen was an independent risk factor for hepatocellular carcinoma, including among patients with an intermediate viral load.
Major finding: Among patients who tested negative for hepatitis B e antigen, had an intermediate HBV DNA load (2,000-19,999 IU/mL), and had a normal baseline ALT level, a high HBcrAg level (10 KU/mL or more) was associated with to a nearly fivefold greater risk for hepatocellular carcinoma (hazard ratio, 4.89).
Study details: Retrospective cohort study of 2,666 adults with untreated hepatitis B virus infection, without cirrhosis at baseline.
Disclosures: Funders included National Taiwan University Hospital, the Ministry of Science and Technology, Executive Yuan in Taiwan, and National Health Research Institutes. The researchers reported having no conflicts of interest.
Tseng T-C et al. Gastroenterology. 2019 Aug 27. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2019.08.028.