Outcome of recurrent hepatitis C virus after liver transplantation in a randomized trial of tacrolimus monotherapy versus triple therapy.
ABSTRACT Less potent immunosuppression is considered to reduce the severity of hepatitis C virus (HCV) recurrence after liver transplantation. An optimal regimen is unknown. We evaluated tacrolimus monotherapy versus triple therapy in a randomized trial of 103 first transplants for HCV cirrhosis. One hundred three patients who underwent transplantation for HCV were randomized to tacrolimus monotherapy (n = 54) or triple therapy with tacrolimus, azathioprine, and steroids (n = 49), which were tapered to zero by 3 to 6 months. Both groups had serial transjugular biopsies with hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) measurement. The time to reach Ishak stage 4 was the predetermined endpoint. All factors documented in the literature as being associated with HCV recurrence and the allocated treatment were evaluated for reaching stage 4 and HVPG >or= 10 mm Hg. No significant preoperative, perioperative, or postoperative differences, including the frequency of biopsies between groups, were found. During a mean follow-up of 53.5 months, 9 monotherapy patients and 6 triple therapy patients died, and 5 monotherapy patients and 4 triple therapy patients underwent retransplantation. Stage 4 fibrosis was reached in 17 monotherapy patients and 10 triple therapy patients (P = 0.04), with slower fibrosis progression in the triple therapy patients (P = 0.048). Allocated therapy and histological acute hepatitis were independently associated with stage 4 fibrosis. HVPG increased to >or=10 mm Hg more rapidly in monotherapy patients versus triple therapy patients (P = 0.038). In conclusion, long-term maintenance immunosuppression with azathioprine and shorter term prednisolone with tacrolimus in HCV cirrhosis recipients resulted in a slower onset of histologically proven severe fibrosis and portal hypertension in comparison with tacrolimus alone, and this was independent of known factors affecting fibrosis.
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ABSTRACT: Aim of our study was to analyze fibrosis progression after liver transplantation (OLT) in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected patients based on protocol liver biopsies and to identify risk factors, which may play a role in the development of severe fibrosis stages. One hundred and eighty-three liver graft recipients who had a histological follow-up evaluation of 1 year after OLT were analyzed. Overall 1039 protocol liver biopsies were performed after 1-, 3-, 5-, 7- and 10 years and staged according to the Scheuer score. The fibrosis progression rate was not linear. The fibrosis scores were 1.2 after one, 1.7 after three, 1.9 after five, 2.1 after 7 and 2.2 after 10 years. The 39 recipients with fibrosis stages 3 or 4 in the 1-year biopsy had a significantly reduced survival rate, while fibrosis stage 0-2 indicated excellent survival. Independent risk factors for progression of fibrosis at 1 year were HCV genotype 1 and 4 (P=0.01) and donor age>33 years (P=0.01), whereas risk factors for development of cirrhosis (30/183 recipients (16%)) were donor age (P=0.002) and multiple steroid pulses (P=0.05). These data provide information on the course of recurrent hepatitis C and may be helpful to individualize the treatment of transplanted patients.Journal of Hepatology 11/2004; 41(5):830-6. · 9.86 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Steroids are traditionally used in liver transplantation as a part of a triple or quadruple immunosuppressive regimen. Steroids act non-specifically and cause multiple side-effects. Most liver transplantation centers reduce the dosage of steroids and eventually withdraw them after various time intervals. A few steroid-free trials have been recently conducted after liver transplantation but long-term data are not yet available. In addition, in these trials steroids were usually given during surgery. We report the long-term (median = 40 months) follow-up data of a prospective pilot study designed to determine whether liver transplantation could be performed with no steroids at all (neither during nor after surgery). Twenty-one consecutive liver transplantations in 20 adult patients between August 1998 and July 1999 were prospectively included in an ab initio steroid-free immunosuppressive protocol. Mean age was 54 yr (40-67 yr). Tacrolimus (through levels, 8-10 ng/mL) and azathioprine (1-2 mg/kg) were started after liver transplantation. Patients were not given steroids during or after liver transplantation except in the event of rejection or in case of tacrolimus or azathioprine toxicity requiring significant dose reduction and/or withdrawal. There has been no case of primary graft dysfunction or non-function. Eleven of 21 liver transplantations (52%) received no steroids throughout the whole study. Rejection developed in five of 21 liver transplantations (23.5%). These rejections responded to standard i.v. steroids (plus ATG in one patient), followed by an oral steroid taper stopped 3 months after rejection. Steroids were transiently given in six liver transplantations for non-immune reasons: two with tacrolimus-induced neurotoxicity, three cases where azathioprine was discontinued, and one for an allergic reaction; four of these six patients are off steroids at last follow-up. The 3-yr graft and patient survival is 95 and 100%, respectively. Steroids are not necessary in more than 50% of liver transplantations. Steroids were transiently needed to treat acute rejection in 23.5% liver transplantations and for toxicity of calcineurin inhibitors or azathioprine or other reason in 28%. Of the patients who received steroids, the majority (70%) was eventually taken off steroids. This prospective single-center pilot study shows that liver transplantation without steroids is feasible and yields no penalty in terms of acute and chronic rejection, immune graft loss, graft function, patient and graft survival.Clinical Transplantation 07/2003; 17(3):177-82. · 1.63 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Recurrent hepatitis occurs in the majority of patients undergoing liver transplantation for hepatitis C virus (HCV) cirrhosis, with progression to cirrhosis in up to 30% after 5 years. Based on these data, a decrease in survival can be anticipated with prolonged follow-up. Furthermore, posttransplantation HCV-fibrosis progression has been shown in recent years to increase. Our aims were (1) to describe the natural history of HCV-infected recipients, particularly to determine whether survival has decreased in recent years; (2) to compare this outcome with that observed in non-HCV-infected cirrhosis controls; and (3) to determine the factors associated with disease severity and survival. Among 522 cirrhotic patients undergoing transplantation between 1991 and 2000, 283 (54%) were infected with HCV. Yearly biopsies were performed in these recipients and at 1 and 5 years in the remainder. With similar follow-up, the percentage of deaths in the HCV(+) group was significantly higher than in the HCV- group (37% vs. 22%, P <.001), and patient survival was lower (77%, 61%, 55% vs. 87%, 76%, 70% at 1, 5, and 7 years, respectively; P =.0001). Although survival has increased in the HCV- group in recent years, it has significantly decreased in HCV recipients (P <.0001). The main cause of death among the latter was decompensated graft cirrhosis (n = 23/105, 22%), whereas that of HCV- patients was infections (n = 10/52, 19%). Reasons for the recent worse outcome in HCV+ recipients include the increased donor age and stronger immunosuppression. In conclusion, patient survival is lower among HCV+ recipients than among HCV- ones and has been decreasing in recent years. The aging of donors is a major contributor to this worse outcome.Hepatology 07/2002; 36(1):202-10. · 12.00 Impact Factor