Hannover Medical School, Carl-Neuberg-Str.1, 30625 Hannover, Germany.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection remains a major global health burden. Hepatitis C causes significant liver-related morbidity and mortality due to hepatic decompensation and development of hepatocellular carcinoma. In addition, extra-hepatic manifestations of hepatitis C are frequent. There is a very large interindividual variability in the natural history of both acute and chronic hepatitis C which can be explained in part by a combination of various host, viral and environmental factors. Successful antiviral treatment can prevent short- and long-term complications of HCV infection in many patients. Still, the relative contribution of distinct risk factors for disease progression in different phases of HCV infection needs to be better defined. Personalized treatment approaches for HCV infection should consider individual risk profiles to avoid both under- and over-treatment - which will remain important also in upcoming era of interferon-free treatment of hepatitis C.