Chronic hepatitis B (CHB) infection is the major cause of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), accounting for approximately 50% of the underlying etiologies. We reviewed the primary, secondary, and tertiary measures for the prevention of hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related HCC. The most effective method for preventing HBV-related HCC is vaccination. Universal hepatitis B vaccination has been shown to reduce the rates of HBV infection and HCC significantly. Once chronic HBV infection is established, antiviral treatment using interferon or nucleos(t)ide analogs is used to prevent disease progression to cirrhosis, HCC, or both. Studies have found viral replication indicated by HBV DNA level to be a strong risk factor for development of HCC. Additionally, periodic surveillance using ultrasonography and serum α-fetoprotein for earlier detection of HCC is also important so that curative treatments with survival benefit can be possible. Finally, adjuvant antiviral treatment using interferon or nucleos(t)ide analogs is used to prevent tumor recurrence after curative resection. Adjuvant interferon treatment prevented early recurrence, not late recurrence, probably due to its antiangiogenetic and antiproliferative effects. Adjuvant nucleos(t)ide analogs demonstrated promising results for preventing late recurrence, probably due to effective suppression of viral replication. Further investigations are required to establish the optimal preventive plans for HBV-related HCC.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by a faculty research grant of Yonsei University College of Medicine for 2012 (6-2012-0008).
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