Hepatitis C Virus Therapy in Liver Transplant Recipients: Response Predictors, Effect on Fibrosis Progression, and Importance of the Initial Stage of Fibrosis

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid


Antiviral therapy after liver transplantation (LT) using interferon (IFN) and ribavirin (RBV) can achieve a sustained virological response (SVR) rate ranging from 20% to 45%. The aims of our study were to assess efficacy and tolerability of therapy, effect on fibrosis progression and the importance of the initial fibrosis stage to outcome. A total of 113 hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected LT patients received 133 courses of IFN (standard, n = 29, pegylated IFN [pegIFN], n = 104) and RBV (75% genotype 1). Early virological response (EVR), end-of-treatment (EOT), and SVR were obtained in 74%, 55%, and 38%, respectively. EVR, completion of treatment, viral load before therapy, genotype non-1, and use of pegIFN were predictive of SVR, but only EVR remained in the multivariate analysis. SVR was obtained in 45% patients who received a second course of therapy. Paired biopsies at baseline, at EOT and at long-term were available in 42 patients. The mean fibrosis stage remained stable in patients with SVR and increased in patients without response. Rejection episodes were observed in 6% of patients. Tolerability of therapy decrease in patients with fibrosis stage ≥3 on baseline liver biopsy. A total of 20% of them died or were retransplanted due to liver failure as opposed to 1% of patients who had fibrosis stage <3. In conclusion, IFN and RBV achieved SVR in 38% of patients. EVR is independently associated with SVR. Fibrosis stage remained stable in patients with SVR and increased in nonresponders. Fibrosis stage ≥3 was associated with a high rate of liver failure, arguing for an early introduction of antiviral therapy.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles