[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We evaluated the effect of antiviral therapy on fibrosis progression in patients with histological features of mild/moderate HCV disease recurrence defined by a Grading score≥4 and Staging score up to 3 (Ishak) at 1 year after liver transplantation.
Seventy-three consecutive patients with mild/moderate recurrence were randomized either to no treatment or to receive Pegilated-Interferon-alfa-2b and ribavirin for 52 weeks. Liver biopsies obtained at baseline (1 year after transplantation) and 2 years afterwards were evaluated for assessment of disease progression, defined as worsening of at least 2 staging points or progression to stage 4 or higher.
As for these two major histological end points there were no statistically significant differences between the 2 groups (36.1% vs. 50%, p=0.34 and 36.1% vs. 38.9%, p=1). Fifteen treated patients (41%) achieved a sustained virological response which was associated with a reduced risk of fibrosis worsening for both endpoints when compared to viremic patients (p=0.04).
Although antiviral-therapy was beneficial in preventing fibrosis progression in patients achieving a sustained virological response, the majority of the overall population of our patients with mild-moderate disease recurrence could not benefit from antiviral therapy either because they either could not be treated or did not respond to treatment (EudraCT number: 2005-005760).
Digestive and Liver Disease 03/2012; 44(7):603-9. · 2.89 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Over a period of 30 months, the Niguarda Ca'Granda Hospital performed 12 living donor liver transplants (LDLT) on adult subjects using the split-liver technique and transplant of the right lobe. The purpose of this work is to evaluate the financial obligation that this technique will bring, the ethical and cultural aspects, and the mortality related to surgery on a healthy donor whose only reward is in the knowledge of having done everything possible for a loved family member.
The analysis of the costs of the surgical process takes into account the simultaneous consideration of both types of patients: the donor and the recipient. The diagnostic course is subdivided into seven functional phases of the cost centers, and the transitory sequences of the foreseeable events of the entire process. The method used consists in the appraisal of all the clinical activities in chronological order several the centers of cost. The direct expenses are evaluated according to an analytical method, and the indirect costs has been carried out on the criterion of the activities of support to the process (management of the orders, recording and programming of the activities) and support to the organization (maintenance, management supplying and contests of contract, programming of the business production, management warehouses, supplyings, marketing and relations with the public).
The cost of all the patients evaluated that were not able to donate has been added to the direct expenses of 12 donor and 12 recipient patients, in all 30 patients, so as to shift the added expenses only to the donor patient, since these costs are not included in the typical costs of transplantation from a cadaver. The indirect cost calculated for each patient has been added to the direct costs of the donor and recipient patients. The total calculated cost of LDLT is 175, 210.78 Euros.
The analysis of the economical obligation that this practice brings is the starting point for an accurate evaluation of all the new technology that, in conjunction with the results of clinical efficacy and efficiency trials, is part of program of a larger scope to fulfil the general social principles of equity and justice.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In recent years, a worsening outcome of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-positive recipients and a faster progression of recurrent disease to overt cirrhosis has been reported. Our aims were to 1) assess patient survival and development of severe recurrent disease (Ishak fibrosis score > 3) in different transplant years; and 2) model the effects of pre- and post-liver transplantation (LT) variables on the severity of recurrent disease. A multicenter retrospective analysis was conducted on 502 consecutive HCV-positive transplant recipients between January 1990 and December 2002. Protocol liver biopsies were obtained at 1, 3, 5, 7, and 10 yr post-LT in almost 90% of the patients. All 502 patients were included in the overall survival analysis, while only the 354 patients with a follow-up longer than 1 yr were considered for the analysis of predictors of disease progression. The overall Kaplan-Meier survival rates were 78.7%, 66.3%, and 58.6%, at 12, 60, and 120 months, respectively, and a trend for a better patient survival over the years emerged from all 3 centers. The cumulative probability of developing HCV-related recurrent severe fibrosis (Ishak score 4-6) in the cohort of 354 patients who survived at least 1 yr remained unchanged over the years. Multivariate analysis indicated that older donors (P = 0.0001) and female gender of recipient (P = 0.02) were the 2 major risk factors for the development of severe recurrent disease, while the adoption of antilymphocytic preparations was associated with a less aggressive course (P = 0.03). Two of these prognostic factors, donor age and recipient gender, are easily available before LT and their combination showed an important synergy, such that a female recipient not only had a much higher probability of severe recurrent disease than a male recipient but her risk increased with the increasing age of the donor, reaching almost 100% when the age of the donor was 60 or older. In conclusion, a trend for a better patient survival was observed in more recent years but the cumulative probability of developing severe recurrent disease remained unchanged. The combination of a female recipient receiving an older graft emerged as a strong risk factor for a severe recurrence.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study extends our previously reported observations that various immunological factors are associated with the occurrence of histologically proven recurrent hepatitis C. The two specific issues investigated were to confirm the associations of MHC alleles and donor/recipient mismatch with the occurrence of recurrent hepatitis C in an independent cohort of newly transplanted patients and to look for immunologic and nonimmunologic variables affecting the severity of the recurrent disease.
Two separate cohorts of consecutive patients were studied: a look-back cohort (LC) of 120 patients and a cohort for studying the disease progression (CSDP) of 190 patients. Protocol liver biopsies were obtained at least 1, 3, 5, 7, and 10 years after liver transplantation (LT).
A fully mismatched donor/recipient pair at the DRB1 locus was confirmed to be associated with both the recurrence of histologic hepatitis in the LC (59% vs 23%, P = .0002) and its progression beyond stage 3 in the CSPD (71.4% vs 39.3%, P = .0003). Relevant immunologic and nonimmunologic variables were included into a multivariate Cox proportional model and three variables, namely, donor age, full HLA-DRB1 donor-recipient mismatch, and HLA B14, resulted in independent risk factors for the development of severe fibrosis.
This study provides evidence that DRB1 donor-recipient mismatch affects both the occurrence and progression of recurrent hepatitis C disease. This information is clinically relevant as it may help to better allocate organs and to recognize patients at risk for progression so that specific interventions can be implemented.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to identify predictors of both survival and tumor-free survival of a cohort of 155 patients, with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and cirrhosis, who were treated by orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT).
From January 1989 to December 2002, 603 OLTs were performed in 549 patients. HCC was diagnosed in 116 patients before OLT and in 39 at histological examination of the explanted livers. Eighty-four percent of the patients met "Milan" criteria at histology. Ninety-four patients received anticancer therapies preoperatively.
The median follow-up was 49 months (range, 0-178). Overall, 1-, 3-, 5-, and 10-yr survival were 84%, 75%, 72%, and 62%, respectively. Survival was not affected by the patient's age or sex, etiology of liver disease, Child score at transplantation, rejection episodes, tumor number, total tumor burden, bilobar tumor, and pathologic Tumor, Nodes, Metastasis (pTNM) stages. There was no statistically significant difference in survival when patients were grouped according to the recently proposed simplified pTNM staging (5-yr survival, 80% in stage I, 69% in stage II, 50% in stage III, p= 0.3) or the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) staging system for HCC. Encapsulation of the tumor and alpha-fetoprotein levels significantly affect patient survival. Five-year survival of patients with poorly differentiated (G3) HCC was significantly worse than that of patients with moderately (G2) or well-differentiated (G1) HCC (respectively, G3 44%, G2 67%, and G1 97%, p= 0.0015). Patients with micro- or macro-vascular invasion had a worse 5-yr survival than patients without vascular invasion (49%vs 77%, p= 0.04). Multivariate analysis showed that histological grade of differentiation and macroscopic vascular invasion are independent predictors of survival (HR 2.4, 95% CI 1.4-4.1, p= 0.0009 and HR 2.8, 95% CI 1.2-6.8, p= 0.022).
Histological grade of differentiation and macroscopic vascular invasion, as assessed on the explanted livers, are strong predictors of both survival and tumor recurrence in patients with cirrhosis who received transplants for HCC.
The American Journal of Gastroenterology 01/2006; 100(12):2708-16. · 9.21 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) shows remarkable genetic variation in both populations and individuals, in whom it circulates as quasispecies (QS). Sequence variation within an infected host has adaptive significance and reflects the modes and intensity of selection mechanisms operating on the virus. We investigated the sequence diversity of hypervariable region 1 of HCV in liver transplant recipients and correlated it with the recurrence of hepatitis. Twenty-six patients were considered during a 2-year period; all had graft reinfection, and 14 patients developed hepatitis recurrence. Cloned sequences were obtained from sera collected before or within 1 month after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) and at 3 and 24 months thereafter. Sequence diversity within single sera and over consecutive samples was analyzed quantitatively by matrix comparison and phylogenetic analysis. Propagation of viral QS in the graft was markedly dependent on individual factors. Viral QS in post-OLT sera were less complex and evolved slower compared with immunocompetent subjects with chronic hepatitis. Sequence variation was greater during the first 3 months post-OLT than during the remaining period. Genetic diversity within single samples was not related to hepatitis recurrence or other clinical features. Conversely, sequence diversity over consecutive samples was reduced in patients who experienced hepatitis recurrence, in particular, in those infected with genotype 1b and with an HLA-DR mismatched graft. Selection of viral sequences was markedly impaired in liver transplant recipients and tended to be greater early after OLT. Reduced sequence turnover correlated negatively with the outcome of graft reinfection.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorders (PTLDs) are heterogeneous severe complications occurring in 1–10% of transplanted patients. In most cases, PTLDs are associated with Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) infection but, recently, some clinical studies have reported an increasing number of EBV-negative PTLDs. Several studies have emphasized the critical role of the early identification of patients at risk for PTLD, in prompting the adoption of either pre-emptive strategies or timely treatment. To this purpose, monitoring of EBV DNA load in peripheral blood mononuclear cells is considered to be a useful test. Moreover, recently, the role of interleukin (IL)-10 in EBV-related diseases has been remarked, and high levels of IL-10 have been detected in PTLD patients. In this study, both EBV load and IL-10 were monitored in 38 PTLD patients at diagnosis and during follow-up, as well as in a control group, in order to establish the diagnostic role of the two tests, their relationship with the different PTLD subsets (EBV-positive and EBV-negative) and their behaviour during treatment. Results of our study suggest that the usefulness of IL-10 assay for early diagnosis of PTLD is similar to that of EBV load quantification, and its clinical diagnostic value is lower in EBV-negative than in EBV-positive PTLDs.
British Journal of Haematology 01/2003; 122(6). · 4.96 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recurrent hepatitis C is a common problem after liver transplantation that can progress to liver cirrhosis of the graft. Preliminary reports of combination treatment with interferon (IFN) and ribavirin have been promising, but long-term follow-up data are not yet available. We report our experience with 1 year of combination therapy with IFN (3 million units thrice weekly) and low-dose ribavirin (600 mg/d), followed by long-term ribavirin monotherapy in 18 patients with moderate to severe recurrent hepatitis C and a median follow-up of 32 months after the completion of combined therapy. All patients were followed up clinically and histologically at regular intervals. Overall, in an intention-to-treat analysis, 15 patients had normal alanine aminotransferase levels (biochemical end-treatment response [ETR], 83%), and 8 patients were also hepatitis C virus RNA negative in serum (virological ETR, 44%) at the end of combined treatment. At last follow-up after the completion of combined therapy (median, 32 months; range, 18 to 73 months), 13 patients were biochemical responders (biochemical long term-sustained response [LT-SR], 72%), and 5 patients also maintained viral clearance (virological LT-SR, 27%). Comparison of liver biopsy specimens before and after 12 months of combined therapy showed improvement in grading scores of at least two points in the majority of the patients (73%). Notably, a trend toward fibrotic progression was only noted in nonresponders. Regarding side effects, despite the low dose of ribavirn, almost half the patients developed hemolytic anemia requiring dose reductions. In addition, long-term ribavirin monotherapy was not associated with iron accumulation. We conclude that combined therapy with low-dose ribavirin followed by long-term ribavirin monotherapy can be recommended because it favorably modifies the natural history of recurrent hepatitis C in most patients and possibly halts histological disease progression without causing iron accumulation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In immunocompetent patients, specific human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II alleles have been associated with the severity of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related disease, in particular, HLA-DRB1*11 has been found to exert a protective effect. The authors have analyzed the role of HLA class I and II alleles in determining the frequency, timing, and progression of histologically proven recurrent hepatitis C in 89 patients who underwent a liver transplant for HCV-related cirrhosis. In addition, the influence of HLA mismatch between donor and recipient, HCV genotype, and use of steroid pulses was also evaluated. Median patient follow up was 35 months (range 4-119). HLA-DRB1 typing was performed by genomic analysis in all cases. Liver biopsies were obtained routinely and at least at yearly intervals. Histologically proven recurrent hepatitis was observed in 46 patients (52%), 10 patients progressing to stage 5-6 fibrosis in most cases within 2 years after transplant. By univariate analysis, 3 variables, HLA-B14, HLA-DRB1*04, and HLA-DRB1 donor/recipient mismatch, showed a significant effect on time to recurrent hepatitis C disease. These parameters were included in a multivariate regression model along with HCV genotype, treatment with steroid pulses and DRB1*11. HLA-B14, HLA-DRB1*04, and HLA-DRB1 donor/recipient mismatch were confirmed to provide a significant and independent contribution to the risk of hepatitic disease recurrence. As for the severity of the disease, none of the 10 patients with stage 5-6 hepatitis carried the HLA-DRB1*11 allele, in line with what was observed in nontransplant subjects. Our results suggest that in posttransplant recurrent hepatitis C, immunogenetic factors are relevant in determining HCV infection outcome.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Liver transplantation for endstage liver cirrhosis provides a useful model to investigate the pathogenetic role of hepatotropic viral agents. Recently, a new member of the Flaviviridae family, provisionally named HGV/GBV-C virus, has been associated with acute and chronic non A-E hepatitis. We studied 136 patients with cirrhosis consecutively transplanted at our institution for evidence of hepatitis G virus infection and correlation with the patients' clinical course.
All patients survived for at least 6 months after transplantation (median follow-up 44 months) and underwent routine liver biopsies. Hepatitis G virus infection was studied using both direct viral RNA identification by RT-PCR and indirect detection of antibodies to the E2 glycoprotein.
There was a high frequency of the hepatitis G virus among patients undergoing liver transplantation, with HGV RNA and anti-E2 prevalence rates of 18.4% and 26.5%, respectively. HGV RNA prevalences significantly increased after transplantation (47.8%), with 47.3% rate of new infections in susceptible subjects. Anti-E2 antibodies were significantly more prevalent among patients transplanted for HCV-related cirrhosis and represented a strong protective factor against hepatitis G virus reinfection or recurrent infection. No correlation was found between HGV RNA or anti-E2 prevalences and survival after transplantation or rates of recurrent liver damage.
All available evidence suggests that, although liver transplant patients are heavily exposed to hepatitis G virus both before and after transplantation, hepatitis G virus does not induce liver disease in this setting. Most infections appear to be self-limited and induce a protective immunity which is marked by the presence of anti-E2 antibodies.
Journal of Hepatology 11/1998; 29(4):533-40. · 10.40 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Maintenance of adequate immunosuppression and avoidance of side-effects are the goals of long-term management of all organ-transplanted patients. We here report the final results of a prospective, randomized trial comparing early cyclosporine monotherapy versus double-drug therapy (cyclosporine and steroids) in adult liver transplantation patients. One hundred four patients were randomized 3 months after transplantation either to continue (Group I = 50 patients) or to stop steroids (Group II = 54 patients). Patients on a double-drug regimen were maintained long term on methylprednisolone at a dose of 0.1 mg/kg/d. Target cyclosporine trough levels were between 150 and 250 ng/mL in both groups. Our main points of interest were the prevalence of acute and chronic rejections and steroid-related side-effects in the two groups of patients. Mean follow-up was 41 +/- 16 months (range, 4-68 months). Patient actuarial survival 2 and 5 years after randomization was similar in the two groups (82% vs. 83% and 82% vs. 77%). The prevalence of acute rejections after randomization was, respectively, 8% and 4%. A single episode of chronic rejection was observed only in a patient on long-term steroid therapy. Side-effects of steroid therapy were less frequent in patients weaned off steroids, and when considering hypertension and diabetes, the differences between the two groups were statistically significant. Early cyclosporine monotherapy is a safe undertaking in liver transplantation because it allows a significant reduction of steroid-related side-effects without increasing the risk of acute and chronic rejection. After 5 years, patient survival was similar in patients with or without steroids.