Hepatitis B and C Virus Infection and Risk of Haematological Malignancies

Aldo Marrone; Marco Ciotti; Luca Rinaldi; Luigi Elio Adinolfi; Marc Ghany


J Viral Hepat. 2019;27(1):4-12. 

In This Article

Conclusions and Future Perspectives

The association of chronic HBV and HCV infections with haematological malignancies such as NHL and CLL is supported by epidemiological and experimental studies. The positive effect of HCV viral eradication in terms of lymphoma remission is quite convincing. Previous studies on patients treated with interferon already showed encouraging results in terms of lymphoma response. However, whether this was due to an effect of viral eradication or a direct anti-proliferative effect of IFN on lymphoma is unknown. The advent of the new DAA therapies that increased the rates of HCV eradication may be a promising adjuvant therapy for patients with HCV-related lymphoproliferative disorders and may provide a better understanding of the link between HCV infection and lymphomagenesis.

Although effective therapy to suppress HBV replication is available, it is not currently possible to eradicate the virus which persists in the form of cccDNA in infected liver cells continuing to exert its oncogenic effect. Thus, universal HBV vaccination might be the best health strategy to eradicate the infection though it will require decades to be effective.

Fascinating contributions are coming from basic science. Powerful molecular biology and immunology techniques allow us to identify viral sequences in human cells and study the interaction between the viral and host genome. The availability of new technologies and revisions in the definition of a causal relationship between microbe and disease will lead to a better understanding of the intriguing role that HBV and HCV play in the pathogenesis of haematological and oncological malignancies. This greater understanding should result in new therapeutic and preventive strategies.