Genetic variants associated with hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related hepatocelullar carcinoma (HCC) are reported this week in Nature Genetics. Chronic HBV infection is a primary risk factor for HCC, one of the most common cancers worldwide.
Long Yu and colleagues report a genome-wide association study for HBV-related HCC in the Chinese population including 2,514 chronic HBV carriers, with follow up in two stages of replication in six populations of chronic HBV carriers. They identify two genomic regions newly associated with HCC risk amongst chronic HBV carriers. One of these regions, including the STAT4 gene, has also been associated with autoimmune diseases, suggesting shared pathways.