29 January 2008
Although the oxidative stress frequently occurs in patients with chronic hepatitis C, its role in future hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development is unknown. Hepatic 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) was quantified using liver biopsy samples from 118 naïve patients who underwent liver biopsy from 1995 to 2001. The predictability of 8-OHdG for future HCC development and its relations to epidemiologic, biochemical and histological baseline characteristics were evaluated. During the follow-up period (mean was 6.7±3.3 years), HCC was identified in 36 patients (30.5%). Univariate analysis revealed that 16 variables, including 8-OHdG counts (65.2±20.2 vs 40.0±23.5 cells per 10 5 μm 2, P<0.0001), were significantly different between patients with and without HCC. Cox proportional hazard analysis showed that the hepatic 8-OHdG ( P=0.0058) and fibrosis ( P=0.0181) were independent predicting factors of HCC. Remarkably, 8-OHdG levels were positively correlated with body and hepatic iron storage markers ( vs ferritin, P<0.0001 vs hepatic iron score, P<0.0001). This study showed that oxidative DNA damage is associated with increased risk for HCC and hepatic 8-OHdG levels are useful as markers to identify the extreme high-risk subgroup. The strong correlation between hepatic DNA damage and iron overload suggests that the iron content may be a strong mediator of oxidative stress and iron reduction may reduce HCC incidence in patients with chronic hepatitis C.