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In fact, approximately 80% of HCC cases worldwide can be attributed to chronic infection with either hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV). These infections, particularly when left untreated, lead to cirrhosis, which is present in 80% to 90% of patients with HCC. Furthermore, because most HCC cases occur in countries with fewer healthcare resources (and, therefore, fewer surveillance options), HCC is often discovered at an advanced stage and accompanied by liver dysfunction, making this a highly lethal cancer.
Approximately 5% of the global population is infected with HBV, and 75% of patients with HBV are Asian. Within HBV endemic areas of the Asia-Pacific region, HBV infection is frequently acquired through mother-to-child transmission, which contributes to earlier onset of HCC than in nonendemic areas.3,4