December 11, 2013

J Gastroenterol. 2013 Dec 8. [Epub ahead of print]

Hepatocarcinogenesis in chronic hepatitis C patients achieving a sustained virological response to interferon: significance of lifelong periodic cancer screening for improving outcomes

Yamashita N, Ohho A, Yamasaki A, Kurokawa M, Kotoh K, Kajiwara E.

Department of Hepatology, Steel Memorial Yawata Hospital, 1-1-1 Harunomachi, Yahatahigashi-ku, Kitakyushu, 805-8508, Japan, naoyamgggg@gmail.com.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Due to advances in interferon (IFN) therapy for chronic hepatitis C, most elderly patients, and even many of those with advanced hepatic fibrosis, now achieve a sustained virological response (SVR). However, carcinogenesis remains problematic in these patients. Hence, we aimed to elucidate risk factors for hepatocarcinogenesis in SVR patients and to present an appropriate follow-up protocol for improving outcomes.

METHODS: We retrospectively studied 562 consecutive SVR patients for a median observation period of 4.8 years.

RESULTS: Hepatocellular carcinoma was diagnosed in 31 patients (5.5 %). Respective cumulative incidences were 3.1, 10.1, and 15.9 % at 5, 10, and 15 years after completion of IFN therapy. The proportional hazards model identified moderate or advanced fibrosis stage, advanced age, habitual alcohol consumption, and alpha-fetoprotein elevation as determinants of carcinogenesis, with hazard ratios of 10.7 (p < 0.001), 4.1 (p < 0.01), 3.9 (p < 0.01), and 2.6 (p < 0.05), respectively. Carcinoma was diagnosed in 26 % of patients more than 10 years after completion of IFN therapy. Unexpectedly, F2 fibrosis was detected in 42 % of these patients. The 5-year survival rate was 93 % in the patients who had received periodic cancer screening but only 60 % in those who had not.

CONCLUSION: We recommend that SVR patients be observed at 6-month intervals, at a minimum, to facilitate diagnosis at an early stage, for as long as possible after completion of therapy even if not at an advanced stage of fibrosis.

PMID: 24317936 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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