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Persistent hepatitis B virus infection is a major risk factor for hepatocellular carcinoma, the most frequent cancer in some developing countries. Up to 95% of those infected at birth and 15% of those infected after the neonatal period fail to clear hepatitis B virus, together resulting in ≈350 million persistent carriers worldwide. Via a whole genome scan in Gambian families, we have identified a major susceptibility locus as a cluster of class II cytokine receptor genes on chromosome 21q22. Coding changes in two of these genes, the type I IFN receptor gene, IFN-AR2 , and the IL-10RB gene that encodes a receptor chain for IL-10-related cytokines including the IFN-λs, are associated with viral clearance (haplotype P value = 0.0003), and in vitro assays support functional roles for these variants in receptor signaling.

Original publication




Journal article


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Publication Date





9148 - 9153