Department of Internal Medicine and Liver Research Institute, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Background: Polymorphisms near the IL28B gene have been proposed to be strongly associated with treatment response and the rate of spontaneous clearance of hepatitis C virus infection, and treatment response of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. In this study, we aimed to determine whether these polymorphisms could affect natural courses of HBV infection.
Methods: Genetic variations were identified through direct DNA sequencing using TaqMan assay in 1,439 patients with past or present HBV infection. Subjects included 404 spontaneously recovered patients, 313 chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients, 305 liver cirrhosis (LC) patients and 417 hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients. Three polymorphisms near the IL28B gene, rs8099917T>G, rs12979860C>T and rs12980275A>G, were identified. Associations between these polymorphisms and HBV clearance, hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) clearance as well as HCC occurrence among patients were analyzed using logistic regression analyses adjusted for age and gender.
Results: There were no significant associations between these polymorphisms and the HBV clearance both in CHB and LC groups. Similarly, these polymorphisms showed no significant associations with HBeAg clearance and the occurrence of HCC either.
Discussion: No significant association was identified between polymorphisms near the IL28B gene and the natural courses of chronic HBV infection, including the HBV clearance and HCC occurrence.