Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 15489585
Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2004 Nov;16(11):1219-27
BACKGROUND: Studies of viral hepatitis C have suggested that fibrosis can regress, at least in patients with sustained virological response. A recent study suggested that cirrhosis was reversible in sustained and non-virological responders.
AIM: To study fibrosis progression rate and cirrhosis reversion in patients treated for severe fibrosis with interferon or interferon + ribavirin.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Ninety-nine patients were treated with interferon + ribavirin and 64 with interferon. The Metavir fibrosis score and the semiquantitative fibrosis score (SFS) were used to assess fibrosis.
RESULTS: In sustained responders, fibrosis progression rate decreased from 0.26 Metavir unit (interquartile range: 0.19-0.34) to -0.67 (-0.67 to 0) (P < 0.0001) and from 0.81 SFS unit (0.48-1.13) to -1.33 (-3.67 to 0) (P < 0.0001). In non-responders, fibrosis progression rate decreased from 0.25 Metavir unit (0.17-0.33) before treatment to 0 (0-0) during treatment (P = 0.002) and from 0.63 SFS unit (0.49-1.12) to 0 (-2.67-1.33) (P = 0.18). Six out of 18 (33%) sustained virological responders and four of 43 (9%) non-responders regressed from cirrhosis (F4) to severe fibrosis (F3) (P = 0.058). No patient with cirrhosis had a decrease of Metavir fibrosis score of 2 points.
CONCLUSION: Interferon can slow fibrosis progression in sustained virological responders with severe fibrosis. In patients with a non-virological response and treated for 12 months the fibrosis progression rate was nil, meaning that only fibrosis stabilization could be obtained in these patients. Then, longer treatment duration (3-4 years) could be evaluated in non-virological responders.