Helicobacter infection in patients with HCV-related chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Digestive Diseases and Sciences








Chronic liver diseases; Cirrhosis; Helicobacter; Hepatitis C virus


Chronic hepatitis may progress to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). HCC represents one of the most common human cancers. Incidence rates for this tumor vary widely on a worldwide, suggesting that environmental factors such as infectious microorganisms, carcinogens, or nutrition play a role in its pathogenesis. Several Helicobacter spp. colonize the liver of animals and induce hepatitis. The aim of this study was to determine whether Helicobacter infection was associated with HCV-related liver diseases in humans. Liver tissue samples, including biopsy and surgically excised tissues, were collected from patients positive for hepatitis C viruses (HCV) RNA in the serum. Genomic DNA was extracted from sections of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues by using the QIAamp Tissue Kit and subjected to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis using two sets of Helicobacter-specific 16S ribosomal RNA primers. To identify positive samples for H. pylori, a set of primers specific for a conserved region in the H. pylori vacA gene were also used. The patients' H. pylori status was determined by ELISA. Forty-one patients (mean age 54.9, range 19-78 years; 24 men) were studied. Thirty patients had chronic viral hepatitis (CH) without (N = 18) or with (N = 12) cirrhosis (CIR), and 11 patients had HCC. Anti-H. pylori IgG was detected in 54%. The expected 422- and 210-bp fragments of Helicobacter 16S rRNA were amplified from 27% of liver samples, including 17% of CH-CIR and 55% of HCC (P = 0.004). The vacA sequence was amplified in 10 of 41(24%) samples (27% of those with HCC). These data confirm the presence of H. pylori DNA sequences in human liver and suggest an association of Helicobacter spp. with HCV-related chronic liver diseases. Further studies are needed to ascertain whether Helicobacter spp. infection plays a role in the development of HCC.

This document is currently not available here.