Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 18794559
Ann. Intern. Med. 2008 Sep;149(6):399-403
BACKGROUND: The effect of regression of cirrhosis in chronic hepatitis C is unknown.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the relation between regression of cirrhosis and clinical outcome in patients with chronic hepatitis C after antiviral therapy.
DESIGN: A cohort of patients with cirrhosis treated between 1988 and 2001.
SETTING: Hepatology unit of a tertiary care center in France.
PATIENTS: 96 patients with chronic hepatitis C and biopsy-proven cirrhosis (METAVIR score F4) who were treated with an interferon-based regimen and had at least 1 posttreatment liver biopsy. Patients were followed until November 2006.
MEASUREMENTS: Occurrence of a combined end point of liver-related events (ascites, hepatic encephalopathy, variceal bleeding, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, hepatocellular carcinoma, or liver transplantation) and death in patients with regression of cirrhosis (defined as a decrease from 4 to <or=2 METAVIR units on posttherapy liver biopsy).
RESULTS: The median follow-up was 118 months (interquartile range, 86 to 138 months). Eighteen patients had regression of cirrhosis. The incidence of the combined end point per 100 patient-years was 0 in patients with regression of cirrhosis and 4 in patients without regression of cirrhosis (P = 0.002, log-rank test). The transplantation-free survival rate at 10 years was 100% in patients with regression of cirrhosis and 74.2% in patients without regression of cirrhosis (P = 0.025).
LIMITATIONS: Selection of patients was retrospective; selection and survival biases may have influenced the estimates of the overall rate of regression of cirrhosis. The low number of patients who experienced regression of cirrhosis precludes analysis of factors that could predict regression of cirrhosis.
CONCLUSION: Regression of cirrhosis occurs after antiviral therapy in some patients with chronic hepatitis C. Regression is associated with decreased disease-related morbidity and improved survival.