Review article: the treatment of genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C virus infection in liver transplant candidates and recipients

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Abstract

Background

Recently, the therapeutic landscape with regard to anti-HCV therapy has changed dramatically. The new directly acting anti-virals (DAAs) have demonstrated improved sustained virological response (SVR) compared with pegylated-interferon and ribavirin.

Aim

To examine and present the latest data with regard to anti-viral therapy in genotype 1 HCV-positive transplant candidates and recipients.

Methods

An electronic search using Medline was performed. Search terms included ‘HCV, DAA and protease inhibitor’ in combination with ‘treatment pre-transplantation’ and ‘treatment post-transplantation’.

Results

Patients with advanced fibrosis and cirrhosis have inferior SVR rates compared with patients with minimal fibrosis. A low accelerating dose regimen (LADR) of pegylated interferon and ribavirin (PR) appears to be a safe therapeutic option. Side effects also appear to be more pronounced in patients with advanced disease. Data from the large registration studies with triple therapy (boceprevir or telaprevir plus PR) demonstrated improved SVR rates even in patients with advanced disease, although virological relapse rates were highest amongst these patients. In transplant recipients, initial data are being reported on the use of triple therapy, and although no SVR data are available, promising results are accruing. The drug–drug interactions appear to be manageable. Side effects in particular anaemia appear to be markedly increased in the posttransplant setting.

Conclusions

The use of the new DAAs in patients with advanced fibrosis/cirrhosis pretransplant and posttransplant appears possible, with manageable side effects and drug–drug interactions, and improved early virological response rates. We recommend that these patients are managed in centres with the appropriate expertise.

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