Risk of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Development in Cases of Hepatitis C Treated by Long-Term, Low-Dose PEG-IFN alpha-2a

Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Kinki University School of Medicine, Osaka, Japan.
Digestive Diseases (Impact Factor: 2.18). 12/2012; 30(6):561-7. DOI: 10.1159/000343065
Source: PubMed


Increasing evidence suggests the efficacy of maintenance therapy with interferon (IFN) for chronic hepatitis C (CHC) in reducing the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The aim of this study was to determine clinical characteristics on the risk of occurrence of HCC in CHC patients receiving maintenance IFN therapy.

A total of 55 patients were treated in a single center with PEG-IFNα-2a monotherapy for CHC and evaluated for variables predictive of the occurrence of HCC.

The cumulative incidences of HCC were 0.092, 0.117 and 0.161 at 3, 5 and 7 years, respectively. Serum ALT level (>40 IU/l) in the 6th month after commencement of IFN therapy and BMI >25 were associated with shorter time-to-HCC emergence using multivariate analysis (relative risk 16.034, p = 0.01 for ALT >40 IU/l; relative risk 6.020, p = 0.026 for BMI >25, respectively). The IL28B SNP was extracted as a significant factor for the occurrence of HCC.

Maintenance therapy with the use of long-term low-dose PEG-IFNα-2a is effective for preventing HCC occurrence irrespective of the IL28B SNP, at least for a subset of CHC patients. The initial response of serum ALT levels and BMI provides a prognostic value for determining the risk of developing HCC later in life.

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