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The spectrum of hepatobiliary disease in primary hypogammaglobulinaemia.

OBJECTIVE: To study the prevalence of hepatobiliary disease in a clinically and immunologically well-characterized group of 88 adult Norwegian patients with primary hypogammaglobulinaemia.

SUBJECTS: Eighty-eight patients with primary hypogammaglobulinaemia were followed and signs and symptoms of liver disease were recorded. The patients were examined clinically and radiologically on a regular basis with liver biopsies performed when indicated. All patients were tested for hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA, hepatitis G virus (HGV) RNA and hepatitis B virus (HBsAg).

RESULTS: Twenty-one patients were HCV RNA-positive, all having signs of chronic liver disease. Only four patients were HGV RNA-positive, of whom two were also HCV RNA-positive. Amongst the 67 HCV RNA-negative patients, 26 had signs of chronic liver disease, including two who were HGV RNA-positive. HCV RNA-negative patients with liver disease had received intravenous immune globulin substitution more frequently, had a longer history of any form of immune globulin substitution and had a greater incidence of common variable immunodeficiency than patients without signs of liver disease. In most cases (21 of 26 patients) the liver disease was relatively mild. Three patients had granulomatous liver disease, with a relatively aggressive course in all three.

CONCLUSION: Hepatobiliary disease is a frequent complication in primary hypogammaglobulinaemia. Liver disease in HCV RNA-negative patients usually has a mild course. HGV does not seem to be a major cause of chronic liver disease in these patients.

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