Department of General Surgery and Organ Transplantation, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS:
The management of patients treated for hepatitis C recurrence after liver transplantation and not achieving virological response following treatment with interferon plus ribavirin is controversial.
A retrospective analysis of the outcomes of 70 patients non-responders to antiviral treatment after liver transplantation was performed. Twenty-one patients (30.0%; Group A) were treated for ≤12 months and 49 (70.0%; Group B) for more than 12 months.
The 2 groups were comparable for main demographic, clinical and pathological variables. Median duration of antiviral treatment was 8.2 months in Group A and 33.4 months in Group B. No patient achieved a complete virological response. The 5-year patient hepatitis C-related survival rate was 49.2% in Group A and 88.3% in Group B (P=0.002), while the 5-year graft survival rate was 49.2% in Group A and 85.9% in Group B (P=0.007). The median yearly fibrosis progression rate was 1.21 per year in Group A and 0.40 per year in Group B (P=0.001).
Prolonged antiviral treatment showed an overall beneficial effect in transplanted patients with a recurrent hepatitis C infection and not responding to conventional therapy. The treatment should be continued as long as it is permitted, in order to improve clinical and histological outcomes.