Predictors of Hepatitis C Progression

JI Program: GI & Liver


Chronic Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is the leading cause of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in the U.S. and is emerging to be an important cause of mortality from liver disease in China. While chronic HCV does not always lead to cirrhosis or HCC, it has been estimated that 20% of people with chronic HCV infection progress to cirrhosis. Extensive research on Hepatitis C at both universities has long been established and this collaboration strives to identify genetic markers that predict the progression from chronic HCV infection to cirrhosis and HCC, and to identify and validate blood markers of liver fibrosis and early HCC in patients. The study is being conducted at both Michigan Medicine and PKUHSC hospitals, allowing comparison of genetic and environmental factors from two diverse populations. The data collected from the study will allow for a more in-depth knowledge of chronic HCV and possible treatment options at different stages of the disease.


  • Total enrollment includes almost 2,045 patients.
  • Awarded $1.4 million U.S. dollars from Collaborative Science Research & Operations, Global Development & Medical Affairs Division of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Company to continue cross-cultural HCV research until 2019.
  • Trainees mentored by Dr. Anna Lok and Dr. Lai Wei:
    • 11 UMMS M1 students completed 8-week summer research programs at PKUHSC.
    • 4 UMMS residents completed one-month clinical rotation at PKUHSC.
    • Dr. Ming Yang from PKUHSC received the Fogarty fellowship for an 11-month research virtual training.


1. Rao HY, Sun DG, Jiang D, …Lok AS, Wei L. (2012) IL28B genetic variants and gender are associated with spontaneous clearance of hepatitis C virus infection. J Viral Hepat. 2012; 19(3): 173-181.

2. Wei L, Lok AS. (2014) Impact of new hepatitis C treatments in different regions of the world. Gastroenterology. 2014; 146(5):1145-50.

3. Wu E, Chen X, Guan Z, …Wei L, Lok AS. (2015) A comparative study of patients’ knowledge about hepatitis C in the United States and in urban and rural China. Hepatol Int. 2015; 9: 58-66.

4. Huiying Rao, Elizabeth Wu, Sherry Fu, Ming Yang, Bo Feng, Andy Lin, Ran Fei, Robert J. Fontana, Anna S. F. Lok, Lai Wei. The higher prevalence of truncal obesity and diabetes in American than Chinese patients with chronic hepatitis C might contribute to more rapid progression to advanced liver disease. Aliment Pharmacol Ther, 2017, 46(8):731-740.

5. Elizabeth Wu, Ming Yang, Huiying Rao, Sherry Fu, Bo Feng, Ran Fei, Andy Lin, Robert J. Fontana, Lai Wei, Anna S. Lok. Temporal changes in the modes of hepatitis C virus transmission in the USA and Northern China. Dig Dis Sci. 2017, 62(8):2141-2149.

6. Neehar D. Parikh, Sherry Fu, Huiying Rao, Ming Yang, Yumeng Li, Corey Powell, Elizabeth Wu, Andy Lin, Baocai Xing, Lai Wei, Anna S. F. Lok. Risk Assessment of Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Patients with Hepatitis C in China and the USA. Dig Dis Sci, 2017, 62(11): 3243-3253

7. Ming Yang, Huiying Rao, Bo Feng, Elizabeth Wu, Lai Wei, Anna S. Lok. Patient Education Improves Patient Knowledge and Acceptance on Antiviral Therapy of Hepatitis C in Rural China. Chin Med J, 2017, 130(22):2750-2751.

8. Ming Yang, Elizabeth Wu, Huiying Rao, Fanny H. Du, Angela Xie, Shanna Cheng, Cassandra Rodd, Andy Lin, Lai Wei, Anna S. Lok. A Comparative Study of Liver Disease Care in the USA and Urban and Rural China. Dig Dis Sci, 2016, 61(10):2847-2856.

9. Jiaxin Huang, Mary L. Guan, Jeremy Balch, Elizabeth Wu, Huiying Rao, Andy Lin, Lai Wei, Anna S. Lok. Survey of hepatitis B knowledge and stigma among chronically infected patients and uninfected persons in Beijing, China. Liver Int, 2016, 36(11):1595-1603.

10. Elizabeth Wu, Tianyi Wang, Tammy Lin, Xisui Chen, Zhe Guan, Claudia Cao, Huiying Rao, Ming Yang, Bo Feng, Sandra Pui, Melvin Chan, Sherry Fu, Andy Lin, Lai Wei, Anna S. Lok. A comparative study of patients' attitudes toward clinical research in the United States and urban and rural China. Clin Transl Sci, 2015, 8(2):123-131.

11. Huiying Rao, Degui Sun, Ruifeng Yang, Feng Liu, Jian Wang, Bo Feng, Nan Wu, Jilian Fang, Guangjun Song, Hui Ma, Fang Guo, Jianghua Wang, Xiaobo Li, Qian Jin, Hong Qin, Hui Zhuang, Lai Wei. The outcome of hepatitis C virus infection in Chinese paid plasma donors: a 12-19-year cohort study. J Gastroenterol Hepatol, 2012, 27(3):526-532.