Chronic hepatitis B (CHB) accounts for approximately 50% of the underlying etiologies for the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) worldwide. We reviewed the primary, secondary, and tertiary measures for the prevention of HCC in CHB patients. First, the most effective method is preventing the acquisition of CHB through global vaccination of infants. However, in patients already chronically infected, antiviral treatment using interferon or nucleoside analogs can prevent disease progression to cirrhosis or HCC. Studies have found viral replications indicated by a HBV DNA level to be a strong predictor for cirrhosis and HCC, irrespective of other viral and biochemical factors. Additionally, periodic surveillance using ultrasonography and serum α-fetoprotein every 3-6 months for earlier detection of HCC is also important so that curative treatments can be used. Once HCC occurs, hepatic resection is the mainstay of curative treatments. To prevent tumor recurrence after resection, adjuvant interferon treatments have been tried with promising results based on the assumption that they not only suppress viral activity but also have tumoricidal, antiangiogenetic, and antiproliferative effects. Using nucleoside analogs also has its rationale for preventing de novo tumor development in remnant liver, considering that viral replications are a strong risk factor for HCC. Optimal preventive plans should be further investigated in future studies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research