Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.
Given the limited efficacy and high adverse event rate associated with treatment of recurrent hepatitis C after liver transplantation, an individualized treatment strategy should be considered. The aim of this study was to identify predictors of response to antiviral therapy for hepatitis C after living donor liver transplantation (LDLT) and to study the associated adverse events.
A retrospective chart review was performed on 125 hepatitis C virus (HCV)-positive LDLT recipients who received interferon plus ribavirin and/or peginterferon plus ribavirin therapy at Kyoto University between January 2001 and June 2011.
Serum HCV RNA reached undetectable levels within 48 weeks in 77 (62%) of 125 patients, and these patients were defined as showing virological response (VR). Of 117 patients, 50 (43%) achieved sustained VR (SVR). Predictive factors associated with both VR and SVR by univariate analysis included low pretransplant serum HCV RNA levels, a non-1 HCV genotype, and low pretreatment serum HCV RNA levels. In addition, LDLT from ABO-mismatched donors was significantly associated with VR, and white cell and neutrophil counts before interferon therapy were associated with SVR. Multivariate analysis showed that 2 variables-pretransplant serum HCV RNA level less than 500 kIU/mL and a non-1 HCV genotype-remained in models of both VR and SVR and that an ABO mismatch was associated with VR. No variables with a significant effect on treatment withdrawal were found.
Virological response to antiviral therapy in patients with hepatitis C recurring after LDLT can be predicted prior to transplant, based on pretransplant serum HCV-RNA levels and HCV genotype. LDLT from ABO-mismatched donors may contribute to more efficacious interferon therapy.