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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 7476231, 8 pages
Research Article

Clinical Impact of Viral Load on the Development of Hepatocellular Carcinoma and Liver-Related Mortality in Patients with Hepatitis C Virus Infection

Division of Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Dankook University College of Medicine, Dankook University Hospital, Cheonan 330-715, Republic of Korea

Received 13 March 2016; Revised 15 July 2016; Accepted 3 August 2016

Academic Editor: Kerstin Schütte

Copyright © 2016 Ran Noh et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Aim. This study aimed to assess clinical impact of hepatitis C viral load on the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and liver-related mortality in HCV-infected patients. Methods. A total of 111 subjects with chronic HCV infection who were available for serum quantitation of HCV RNA were recruited in this retrospective cohort. Cox-proportional hazards models were used to calculate hazard ratio (HR) of developing HCC and liver-related mortality according to serum HCV RNA titers. Results. HCC was developed in 14 patients during follow-up period. The cumulative risk of HCC development was higher in subjects with high HCV RNA titer (log HCV RNA IU/mL > 6) than subjects with low titer (log HCV RNA IU/mL ≦ 6) (HR = 4.63, ), giving an incidence rate of 474.1 and 111.5 per 10,000 person-years, respectively. Old age (HR = 9.71, ), accompanying cirrhosis (HR = 19.34, ), and low platelet count (HR = 13.97, ) were other independent risk factors for the development of HCC. Liver-related death occurred in 7 patients. Accompanying cirrhosis (HR = 6.13, ) and low albumin level (HR = 9.17, ), but not HCV RNA titer, were significant risk factors related to liver-related mortality. Conclusion. Serum HCV RNA titer may be considered an independent risk factor for the development of HCC but not liver-related mortality.