BACKGROUND/AIMS: Recent studies have shown that the genotype of hepatitis B virus (HBV) may correlate with the disease natural history and treatment outcome. However, several of these studies used low sensitivity assays in a small number of patients, and this has precluded an accurate evaluation of Korean HBV genotypes. We analyzed Korean HBV genotypes in a large population by employing a new technology, restriction fragment mass polymorphism (RFMP) using MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry, in a sensitive and specific manner. METHODS: Between February 1995 and December 2003, a total of 475 patients with chronic HBV infection were enrolled. The assay is based on the mass measurement of oligonucleotides having genotypic variations of the S gene. Clinical features including the virologic status and disease progression were also evaluated. RESULTS: The median age of the total patients was 35.5 years. Out of 475 patients, there were 162 (34.1%) inactive carriers, 172 (36.2%) had chronic hepatitis, 77 (16.2%) had liver cirrhosis and 64 (13.5%) had hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). There were 454 patients (95.6%) with genotype C, 4 patients (0.8%) with genotype A, 16 patients (3.4%) with the mixed A and C genotype [7 patients (1.4%) with A<C versus 9 patients (2.0%) with C>A], and 1 patient (0.2%) with B genotype. Comparing genotype A and C, genotype A patients were all inactive carriers without HCC, whereas genotype C patients included those with chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and HCC. CONCLUSIONS: HBV genotype C is highly prevalent in Korea. Although it is a small percentage, genotype A also exists and it seems to take a more benign clinical course than genotype C. Further studies are necessitated to assess the relationship between HBV genotypes and the various aspects of the diseases' clinical course.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||The Korean journal of hepatology|
|Publication status||Published - 2004 Dec|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes