Molecular epidemiologic studies reveal remarkable differences in the geographical distribution of hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotypes. The frequency of mutants among HBV genotypes also varies. The role of HBV genotypes/mutants in the pathogenesis of HBV infection and natural history of HBV infection has been extensively investigated. The distribution of HBV genotypes in acute hepatitis B patients reflects the predominant genotypes in a given geographic area. In chronic hepatitis B patients, genotype C and D have a higher frequency of basal core promoter A1762T/G1764A mutations than genotype A and B. HBV genotypes C, D and F carry a higher lifetime risk of cirrhosis and HCC development than genotype A and B. HBV pre-S/S gene mutations were associated with immune escape of hepatitis B immunoglobulin or vaccine-induced immunity. Mutations in the pre-S, core promoter and X regions correlate with an increased risk of cirrhosis and HCC. In summary, HBV genotypes and mutants are associated with the disease progression and long-term outcome of HBV infection. They may serve as viral genetic markers for risk stratification of chronic hepatitis B patients in clinical practice.
Best Practice & Research Clinical Gastroenterology, Volume 31, Issue 3, Pages 249-255