Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) infection is known to affect hepatitis C virus (HCV) clearance and to accelerate the development of hepatocellular carcinoma in HCV-infected patients. In this study, we found the prevalence and titer of an antibody recognizing the central region of the HTLV-1 Gp46 protein to be associated with the severity of chronic liver disease. The antibody prevalence was significantly correlated with the stage of chronic liver disease (P < 0.0001): 3 (14.3%) of 21 patients with minimal-mild chronic hepatitis, 12 (24%) of 50 with moderate-severe chronic hepatitis, 7 (87.5%) of 8 with liver cirrhosis, and 13 (100%) of 13 with hepatocellular carcinoma. These results indicate that the antibody may be a useful marker of the deterioration of liver disease in patients co-infected with HCV and HTLV-1. This antibody may be useful for the diagnosis of liver diseases and the development of more effective treatments.
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