Early Predictors of Long-term Outcomes of HCV-negative Liver Transplant Recipients Having Survived the First Postoperative Year

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Abstract

Background

The non-improvement in >1-year post-liver transplant (LT) survival and diminishing importance of hepatitis C (HCV) with modern antivirals justify identification of early factors predictive of long-term outcome post-LT in HCV-negative recipients.

Methods

This nationwide study included all 631 HCV-negative adult patients transplanted in Finland 1982-2013 with at least 1-year graft survival (6311 person-year follow-up). We tested 37 variables, including immunosuppression, for their association with >1-year combined graft loss/mortality, late rejection, cancer, or infections.

Results

Significant multivariate predictors of graft loss/mortality were male gender (HR 2.40, P = 0.001), pretransplant hepatocellular (HR 2.92, P = 0.001) or biliary cancer (HR 12.7, P < 0.001), glomerular filtration rate (HR 0.89, P = 0.002), hypertension (HR 0.44, P < 0.001), early posttransplant infections (HR 1.52-1.67, P = 0.007-0.03), and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) (HR 1.05, P < 0.001). Elevated ALP at 1 year, affecting 30% of patients, predicted both graft loss and rejection, independent of immunologic stability, etiology, and immunosuppression type. Area under the curve of ALP in predicting graft loss from rejection was 0.81 (95% CI 0.71-0.90) and 0.85 (95% CI 0.72-0.98, P = 0.001) among patients under 50. Among immunologically stable patients who underwent transplantation after 2000, antimetabolite use at 1 year was associated with improved survival (P = 0.04), specifically in the subgroup with native-liver hepatocellular or biliary cancer (P = 0.02).

Conclusions

Easily measurable, widely available, and noninvasive factors known at 1 year post-LT can help stratify patients according to their long-term risk of death or graft loss, and thus facilitate a personalization of long-term follow-up. ALP deserves routine monitoring, and the cause for an elevated ALP should be sought.

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