BACKGROUND: We evaluated the clinical features and the prognostic factors of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) developed after hepatitis C virus (HCV) eradication with interferon (IFN) therapy.
METHODS: Forty-one consecutive patients who developed HCC after HCV eradication with IFN therapy were enrolled. Clinical features were reviewed, and overall survival and associated factors were analyzed. The recurrence rate in 26 patients receiving radical therapy was also analyzed.
RESULTS: Twenty patients developed HCC within 5 years after the end of IFN therapy, 9 patients developed the disease from 5 to 10 years after the end of the therapy, 9 patients developed the disease from 10 to 15 years after the end of the therapy, and 3 patients developed the disease from 15 years after the end of the therapy. Multivariate analysis of independent variables for the development of HCC within 5 years identified age >55 years at HCV eradication (P = 0.007) and heavy alcohol intake (P = 0.009). The 5-year survival rate was 64%. On multivariate analysis of overall survival for the 41 patients, the only risk factor with prognostic influence was radical therapy (P = 0.010), which was associated with a cumulative 5-year survival rate of 91%. The only independent factor for the receipt of radical therapy was regular surveillance for HCC (P = 0.004). Among patients receiving radical therapy, the 3- and 5-year recurrence rates were 18 and 18%, respectively.
CONCLUSION: We found that, despite HCV eradication, patients with the risk factors of high age at HCV eradication and heavy alcohol intake might be at heightened risk for the development of HCC within 5 years after HCV eradication. In contrast, risk factors for the development of HCC more than 10 years after HCV eradication were uncertain. These findings indicate the need for long-term surveillance for HCC after HCV eradication.