Department of Hepato-Gastroenterology Hospital Saint Joseph, Marseille, France.
Of all hepatitis C virus patients, those with cirrhosis are most in need of treatment owing to increased morbidity and mortality. Treatment with pegylated interferon and ribavirin (PEG-IFN/RBV) has clearly shown the benefits of successful treatment by improving fibrosis, causing the regression of cirrhosis and reducing and preventing cirrhosis-related complications. However, the sustained virological response (SVR) is lower in patients with cirrhosis. First generation protease inhibitors (boceprevir and telaprevir) in combination with PEG-IFN/RBV are a major advancement in the treatment of both naïve and treatment-experienced genotype 1 patients. In naïve patients, the SVR rate with the triple regimen with boceprevir increased by 14% in patients with severe fibrosis or cirrhosis compared to PEG-IFN/RBV compared by 30% in patients with mild or moderate fibrosis. The SVR rate of the triple regimen with telaprevir increased by 10-30% compared to PEG-IFN/RBV in patients with severe fibrosis or cirrhosis and by nearly 30% in patients with mild or moderate fibrosis. The greatest benefits seem to be found in patients with cirrhosis who have relapsed, and is limited in prior non-responder patients. Thus, the choice of triple therapy in the latter should be considered in relation to the increase in side effects. There are no data on the efficacy of the triple regimen in patients with decompensated cirrhosis. Results in real-life settings show that patients with cirrhosis need to be carefully followed-up during treatment due to the increase in side effects that are greater than in clinical studies. Next generation DAAs and PEG-IFN/RBV appear to be more effective and have fewer side effects in patients with cirrhosis. Ultimately, an interferon-free regimen of DAAs combinations will probably provide a SVR in patients with cirrhosis and will probably be proposed in patients with more advanced or decompensated cirrhosis.