Background: This study aims to determine the impact of intracellular hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA, covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA) and viral replicative activity in both tumour and non-neoplastic liver on prognosis and to determine the relationship of viral replicative activity and Ishak fibrosis in predicting outcome following resection. Methods: A total of 99 prospectively enrolled patients treated with primary liver resection for HBV-HCC are included. Intracellular HBV DNA and cccDNA were quantitated by real-time PCR. The RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) was performed in a subset of 21 patients who had either minimal liver fibrosis (Ishak stages 0-2) or end-stage fibrosis (Ishak stage 6). Results: Tumour tissue contained a lower cccDNA copy number compared with paired non-neoplastic liver, and larger tumours (>3 cm) had less cccDNA compared with small tumours (≤3 cm). High viral replicative activity in non-neoplastic liver was associated with higher HCC recurrence rate independent of Ishak fibrosis stage. Genes correlated with viral replicative activity in non-neoplastic liver (620 genes) were distinct from those associated with end-stage fibrosis (1226 genes). Genes associated with viral replicative activity were preferentially distributed in regions on chr3, chr16 and chr19. Conclusions: Viral replicative activity in non-neoplastic liver is associated with HCC recurrence through mechanisms that are distinct from and independent of Ishak fibrosis stage.
- HBV DNA
- viral replicative activity