[Hepatitis B virus and hepatocellular carcinoma]
Tiollais P. Pineau P. Wei Y. Dejean A. Buendia MA.
Unite de Recombinaison et Expression Genetique (INSERM U.163), Institut Pasteur, Paris.
Hepatitis B is a very important public health problem. Epidemiologic studies have shown a relationship between the hepatitis B virus (HBV) chronic carrier state and the development of hepatocellular carcinoma. HBV belongs to the Hepadna viruses family which includes the woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV), Woodchucks infected with WHV represent a good experimental model to study the viral oncogenesis. In 85% of the studied cases, WHV acts by insertional mutagenesis in a gene of the myc family, mostly the N-myc2 gene. Expression of the myc genes is increased, suggesting the role of the viral enhancer. Study of transgenic mice have shown the liver specificity of the WHV action. In man, the liver oncogenesis is not explained. Studies are in progress to detect inactivation of tumor suppressor genes.