Preemptive therapy for hepatitis C virus after living-donor liver transplantation.

Artificial Organ and Transplantation Division, Department of Surgery, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.
Transplantation (Impact Factor: 3.78). 12/2004; 78(9):1308-11. DOI: 10.1097/01.TP.0000142677.12473.E5
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Living-donor liver transplantation (LDLT) is important for patients with end-stage viral hepatitis because of the cadaveric organ shortage. Preliminary results, however, indicate that LDLT might be disadvantageous for patients positive for hepatitis C virus (HCV).
The subjects were 23 patients who underwent LDLT for HCV cirrhosis. All the patients preemptively received antiviral therapy consisting of interferon-alfa2b and ribavirin, which was started approximately 1 month after the operation. The therapy continued for 12 months after the first negative HCV RNA test. The patients were then observed without the therapy for 6 months (group 1). The therapy was continued for at least 12 months even when the HCV RNA test remained positive (group 2). The subjects were removed from the protocol if they could not continue the therapy for 12 months because of adverse effects or could not start the therapy because of early death.
Eight patients were removed from the protocol. Nine patients were assigned to group 1 and the other six to group 2. The sustained virologic response ratio was 39% (9 of 23). There was a significant difference between the groups in the histologic activity score 1 year after the therapy. The cumulated 3-year survival of the HCV-positive patients was 85%, which was comparable with that of patients negative for HCV (n=93 [90%]).
The present preemptive antiviral protocol after LDLT is safe and might warrant a controlled study for confirming its benefit on graft survival.

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