Prospective study of guideline-tailored therapy with direct-acting antivirals for hepatitis C virus-associated mixed cryoglobulinemia

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Abstract

Hepatitis C virus (HCV)-associated mixed cryoglobulinemia (MC) vasculitis commonly regresses upon virus eradication, but conventional therapy with pegylated interferon and ribavirin yields approximately 40% sustained virologic responses (SVR). We prospectively evaluated the efficacy and safety of sofosbuvir-based direct-acting antiviral therapy, individually tailored according to the latest guidelines, in a cohort of 44 consecutive patients with HCV-associated MC. In two patients MC had evolved into an indolent lymphoma with monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis. All patients had negative HCV viremia at week 12 (SVR12) and at week 24 (SVR24) posttreatment, at which time all had a clinical response of vasculitis. The mean (±standard deviation) Birmingham Vasculitis Activity Score decreased from 5.41 (±3.53) at baseline to 2.35 (±2.25) (P < 0.001) at week 4 on treatment to 1.39 (±1.48) (P < 0.001) at SVR12 and to 1.27 (±1.68) (P < 0.001) at SVR24. The mean cryocrit value fell from 7.2 (±15.4)% at baseline to 2.9 (±7.4)% (P < 0.01) at SVR12 and to 1.8 (±5.1)% (P < 0.001) at SVR24. Intriguingly, in the 2 patients with MC and lymphoma there was a partial clinical response of vasculitis and ∼50% decrease of cryocrit, although none experienced a significant decrease of monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis. Adverse events occurred in 59% of patients and were generally mild, with the exception of 1 patient with ribavirin-related anemia requiring blood transfusion. Conclusion: Interferon-free, guideline-tailored therapy with direct-acting antivirals is highly effective and safe for HCV-associated MC patients; the overall 100% rate of clinical response of vasculitis, on an intention-to-treat basis, opens the perspective for curing the large majority of these so far difficult-to-treat patients. (Hepatology 2016;64:1473-1482)

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