Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections can lead to cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Over the past decade, studies of individuals infected with these viruses have established genetic associations with the probability of developing a chronic infection, risk of disease progression, and likelihood of treatment response. We review genetic and genomic methods that have been used to study risk of HBV and HCV infection and patient outcomes. For example, genome-wide association studies have linked a region containing the interferon lambda genes to spontaneous and treatment-induced clearance of HCV. We review the genetic variants associated with HCV and HBV infection, and how these variants affect specific expression or activities of their products. Further studies of these variants could provide insights into risk factors for and mechanisms of chronic infection and disease progression, as well as new strategies for treatment.
- Hepatocellular Carcinoma