BACKGROUND.: The influence of immunosuppression on the response to antiviral treatment in recurrent hepatitis C is still under debate. The purpose of this study was to identify those factors that might predict sustained viral response and relapse.
METHODS.: The ReViS-TC, a multicenter cohort study conducted in 14 Spanish liver centers, included data from liver transplant recipients from January 2000 to December 2006 who had recurrent hepatitis C virus and who had undergone antiviral treatment with pegylated interferon plus ribavirin. Sustained virological response (SVR) and viral relapse were evaluated. A multivariate logistic regression model was used to investigate host, donor, and therapeutic factors associated with SVR and relapse.
RESULTS.: The analysis included 410 patients, 30% treated with cyclosporine A (CsA) and 70% with tacrolimus. SVR was achieved in 48% of patients with CsA and in 37% with tacrolimus (P=0.037), with a relapse rate of 18% and 36%, respectively (P=0.006). In the multivariate model, the administration of CsA (odds ratio [OR] 0.37, P=0.021) in conjunction with a longer antiviral treatment duration (OR 0.86, P=0.024) correlated with lower relapse rate, whereas the older age of the donor (OR 1.03, P=0.006) and the presence of genotype 1 (OR 3.45, P=0.032) were associated with a higher probability of relapse.
CONCLUSIONS.: Our results suggest that the use of CsA-based immunosuppression regimens and longer treatment duration may protect patients against viral relapse after a positive response to pegylated interferon plus ribavirin therapy. These data need to be further confirmed in clinical trials.