Does Interferon Use Prior to Liver Transplant Influence Hepatitis C Outcomes Following Transplantation?

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The most frequent reason for orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) in the United States is due to complications of hepatitis C (HCV). Recent reports have shown decreased survival for HCV after OLT. Of note, the use of interferon (IFN) products has become wide spread with the majority of HCV patients being treated before transplant.


To review the outcomes of HCV patients who have received IFN products before liver transplant compared with HCV patients those who have never received IFN.


Single-center, retrospective review of patients transplanted for HCV since December 1998 (n=131). Primary endpoint is the effect of IFN exposure before transplant on posttransplant outcomes.


Patients receiving before transplant (pre-IFN group; n=45) had a more aggressive recurrence of HCV with earlier recurrence (181.1±236 days vs. 303.4± 327 days; P=0.031), frequency of recurrence [41/45 (91.1%) vs. 62/86 (72.1%); P=0.013], and 1-year recurrence free survival [20% (±0.06) vs. 48.2% (±0.05); P=0.005]. Survival difference was noted in the pre-IFN group at 1 year and 3 years [79.7% (±0.06) vs. 90.5% (±0.03); 65.7 (±0.08) vs. 75.9% (±0.05); P=0.05] when compared with patients not receiving IFN (n=86) before transplant.


Based on this study, interferon use before transplant for the HCV patient indicates poor outcomes After OLT. Because of the increasing numbers of HCV patients coming to transplant, validation of these results should be of utmost importance.

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