The majority of hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) from hepatitis B virus (HBV)-endemic areas contain integrated viral sequences. To better understand the role of HBV DNA insertion in tumorigenesis, we examined the integration site of a HCC harboring a single insert. Cellular DNAs flanking the viral sequences were mapped to chromosomes 17 and 8, indicating a translocation had occurred at the site of viral integration. Regional mapping of chromosome 17 demonstrated that HBV had integrated in 17p12-pter, a region that harbors the p53 tumor suppressor gene. Many studies have shown that chromosome 17p allele loss occurs frequently in HCCs from certain geographical areas. To investigate the chromosome 8 allele status in Chinese HCCs, a panel of 37 matched normal and HCC DNAs from Qidong, China was analyzed for tumorspecific allele loss with RFLP probes from both arms of chromosome 8. Tumor-specific loss of heterozygosity was highest on the short arm with 71.4% (10/14) and 85.0% (17/20) of the informative patients missing an allele for 8p23 (YNM3) or 8p21 (NEFL), respectively. Allele loss from the long arm of chromosome 8 was also observed with 30.0% (6/20) and 33.3% (7/21) of the samples informative for 8q22 (CA2) and 8q24 (MCT128.2), respectively. The high allele loss on 8p correlates with recent studies of other human cancers and is interpreted to indicate that a tumor suppressor gene(s) whose loss is important for carcinogenesis lies within this region. These findings also support a model in which HBV insertions associated with gross chromosomal changes can identify genomic regions where alteration is important for development of some HCCs.


This work was supported by Grants 54557 (B. L. S.) and CA 09197 (S. A. B.) from the National Cancer Institute.

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