Seminars in Immunopathology

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 203–211 | Cite as

Sexual dimorphism in hepatitis B and C and hepatocellular carcinoma

  • Nico Buettner
  • Robert ThimmeEmail author


The incidence of viral hepatitis B or C (HBV/HCV) infection and hepatocellular carcinoma is higher in male compared to female populations, showing a faster disease progression and results in a worse overall survival. Indeed, women are in general better protected from viral infections and show a lower risk of death from malignant cancer in comparison to men. Females mount stronger innate and adaptive immune responses than males, and therefore, most of the autoimmune diseases occur predominantly in females. Next to occupational and/or behavioral factors, cellular and molecular differences between the two sexes contribute to this observation. In this review, we will discuss underlying mechanisms that are important for the observed sex-related differences in liver diseases. A better appreciation of these differences between the two sexes might be of value for better and gender-specific treatment options.


Sexual dimorphism Hepatitis B virus Hepatitis C virus Hepatocellular carcinoma Liver disease 


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medicine II (Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Endocrinology and Infectious Diseases), Medical Center University of Freiburg, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgGermany

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