This study was published in the British Medical Journal 1993 Apr 3;306(6882):890-4
Study title and authors:
Prolonged infection with hepatitis B virus and association between low blood cholesterol concentration and liver cancer.
Chen Z, Keech A, Collins R, Slavin B, Chen J, Campbell TC, Peto R.
Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Oxford, Radcliffe Infirmary.
This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8490412
Hepatitis can be caused by viruses that primarily attack the liver cells, such as hepatitis B. About one fifth of the patients with chronic hepatitis B are at risk of developing cirrhosis or cancer of the liver
The study examined 1,556 apparently healthy men aged 35-64 years to determine whether prolonged infection with hepatitis B virus is associated with a lower blood cholesterol concentration. 238 (15%) of the men were positive for hepatitis B surface antigen, indicating that they were chronic carriers.
The study found:
(a) Cholesterol levels were 4.2% lower among carriers (that is, positive for hepatitis B surface antigen) than among non-carriers.
(b) Chronic hepatitis B virus infection, which usually starts in early childhood in China, seems to lead not only to a greatly increased risk of death from liver disease but also to a somewhat lower cholesterol levels in adulthood.
The study found that lower cholesterol levels lead to risk of death from liver cancer or from other chronic liver diseases.