Francesca Romana Ponziani, Eleonora Brigida Annicchiarico, Massimo Siciliano, Francesca D'Aversa, Maurizio Pompili, Antonio Gasbarrini, UOC Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology, Policlinico A Gemelli, Catholic University of Rome, 00168 Rome, Italy.
To investigate differences in tolerability and response to treatment in compensated cirrhotic patients affected by hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection before and after liver transplantation.
Forty-three HCV non-liver transplanted (LT) cirrhotics (mean age 55 ± 8 years, 65.1% male, Child-Pugh-A, genotype 1-4: 65.1%, 2-3: 34.9%) and 17 LT recipients with recurrent HCV-related cirrhosis (mean age 57 ± 9 years, 88.2% male, Child-Pugh-A, genotype 1-4: 76.5%, 2-3: 23.5%) were included in the analysis from retrospective series. All patients received recombinant or pegylated interferon plus ribavirin at a standard dose and duration. Adverse events were recorded and classified according to the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events. The mean duration of follow-up was of 4.3 ± 1.8 years after the end of the treatment.
An early virological response (EVR) was achieved in 30/43 (69.8%) non-LT and in 8/17 (47.1%) LT cirrhotics, a sustained virological response (SVR) in 18/43 (41.9%) and 5/17 (29.4 %), respectively. No statistical difference was observed in EVR and SVR rates between the two groups. Among HCV non-LT cirrhotics, 6/43 (13.9%) discontinued the treatment prematurely, 11.6% of them receiving ≤ 80% of treatment; 8/17 (47%) LT cirrhotics withdrew the treatment, 35.2% of them receiving ≤ 80% of treatment. If compared with LT-ones (P = 0.015), an higher risk of treatment discontinuation could affect LT cirrhotics, who undergo more frequently ≤ 80% of treatment (P = 0.05). None of the non-LT cirrhotics died after the end of the treatment. With no regards to the achievement of SVR, LT cirrhotic patients showed a reduced survival in respect to non-LT ones (87% at 1 year, 76% at 3 and 5 years after the end of treatment).
HCV antiviral treatment is equally effective in compensated cirrhotics both before and after LT, which patients show a higher risk of premature treatment withdrawal and a reduced survival, independently of the achievement of SVR.