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Incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma in chronic hepatitis C after interferon therapy.

Hepatogastroenterology 2002 Mar-Apr;49(44):508-12

Hayashi K, Kumada T, Nakano S, Takeda I, Kiriyama S, Sone Y, Toyoda H, Shimizu H, Honda T
Department of Gastroenterology, Ogaki Municipal Hospital, Ogaki, Japan.

BACKGROUND/AIMS: We investigated the rate of occurrence and the risk factors for hepatocellular carcinoma in chronic hepatitis C patients who received interferon therapy. METHODOLOGY: We followed 413 chronic hepatitis C patients for more than 6 years after interferon therapy and assessed the following patient characteristics: age, sex, platelet count, response to interferon, hepatitis C virus RNA level, hepatitis C virus genotype, liver histology, and changes in serum alanine aminotransferase levels. RESULTS: Hepatocellular carcinoma was found in 21 patients after interferon therapy. The factor most related to the occurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma was changes in serum alanine aminotransferase levels (univariate analysis, P < 0.0001; multivariate analysis, P = 0.0013), followed by age (univariate analysis, P = 0.0003; multivariate analysis, P = 0.0029). A significant difference was observed in the platelet count and response to interferon based on univariate analysis alone (P = 0.0096, P = 0.0241, respectively), however no significant differences were noted in the other factors. The course of serum alanine aminotransferase levels following interferon therapy rather than the eradication of hepatitis C virus was found to be the factor most profoundly involved in liver carcinogenesis. CONCLUSIONS: Even if interferon therapy fails to eradicate the hepatitis C virus, maintaining low serum alanine aminotransferase levels post-interferon therapy would reduce the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma in chronic hepatitis C.

PMID: 11995484, UI: 21992063


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