Detection of hepatitis C viral RNA sequences in fresh and paraffin-embedded liver biopsy specimens of non-A, non-B hepatitis patients

D Bresters, H T Cuypers, H W Reesink, R A Chamuleau, M E Schipper, B D Boeser-Nunnink, P N Lelie, P L Jansen
Journal of Hepatology 1992, 15 (3): 391-5
In this study methods of HCV-RNA detection in fresh frozen and formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded liver biopsies are described. Of 22 untreated chronic non-A, non-B hepatitis patients and 6 control patients, a plasma sample and part of a liver biopsy were freshly frozen for hepatitis C virus (HCV) cDNA-PCR. From 16 of the same non-A, non-B hepatitis patients and from 5 of the same control patients formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded liver tissue from the same biopsy was available also for HCV cDNA-PCR. In 13 of 22 non-A, non-B hepatitis patients HCV-RNA could be detected in plasma as well as in liver tissue. In the other 9 non-A, non-B hepatitis patients and in 6 control patients, no HCV-RNA was detectable in either plasma or liver tissue. The comparison between HCV cDNA-PCR results in fresh frozen versus formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded liver biopsies showed that although detection of HCV-RNA in both correlated 100% the quantity of HCV-RNA was lower in the formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded liver biopsies of 5 of 8 patients for whom end-point dilution titration of liver RNA was performed. We conclude that using the procedures described HCV-RNA can be reliably detected in both fresh-frozen and formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded liver biopsies and that HCV cDNA-PCR in liver tissue may become an important assay, especially for monitoring anti-viral therapy.

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