INTRODUCTION: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a common cause of chronic liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The prevalence of HCC significantly declines among patients achieving a sustained virological response (SVR) after antiviral therapy with pegylated(PEG)-interferon (IFN) and ribavirin. However, up to 5% of patients with SVR may develop HCC.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: We investigated the epidemiological, clinical, biochemical and virological characteristics of a small cohort of patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC) who developed HCC after being successfully treated with PEG-IFN-α and ribavirin.
RESULTS: Between September 2000 and January 2003, 598 patients with CHC underwent a complete course of treatment with PEG-IFN-α and ribavirin; 221 out of 598 (37%) patients obtained a SVR. Throughout the 10-year post-treatment follow up, 13 of 221 ( 5.8% ) SVR patients developed HCC. All 13 patients were male and were affected with Child A liver cirrhosis; in addition, at baseline they were significantly older (p < 0.05) and had higher alpha-fetoprotein levels (p < 0.05) in comparison with those who did not develop HCC. Nine patients (69.3%) developed HCC within the first 3 years after antiviral treatment completion, one patient (7.7%) between 3 and 5 years and 3 subjects (23%) between 5 and 10 years; 12 of 13 had a solitary lesion with a mean diameter of 2.5± 0.5 cm. Eleven cases (84.6%) underwent surgical resection, one (7.7%) received liver transplantation, one (7.7%) received palliative care.
CONCLUSIONS: The risk of developing HCC after achieving SVR persists in patients with HCV-related cirrhosis. As a consequence, these patients should continue to undergo long-term surveillance for HCC, in order to early detect and treat it.Free PDF Download
To cite this article
M.R. Pinzone, A.M. Zanghì, L. Rapisarda, V. D’Agata, F. Benanti, D. Spartà, G. Nunnari, B. Cacopardo
Cirrhotic patients are still at risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma despite Interferon-induced sustained virological response
Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci
Vol. 18 - N. 2 Suppl