ABSTRACT: Antiviral therapy for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is frequently prescribed for patients with chronic HBV infection during surveillance for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In patients who subsequently develop HCC, the impact of antiviral therapy on the outcome of HCC remains unclear.
We aimed to study the impact of antiviral therapy on the survival of patients who developed HCC.
From two prospective surveillance cohorts, the use of antiviral therapy for patients with HCC was retrospectively reviewed. We compared the overall survival, liver function and tumour characteristics between patients with and without antiviral therapy during surveillance. Multivariate analysis was conducted to determine the independent prognostication of antiviral therapy.
During a median follow-up of 10.1 years of 1429 patients, 148 cases of HCC were diagnosed and followed up for a median of 5.7 years. Twenty-nine patients were given antiviral therapy during surveillance and continued treatment after diagnosis of HCC. The median survival of this group of patients was better than the rest of cohorts (hazard ratio: 0.472; 95% CI: 0.25-0.89; P = 0.0191). Use of antiviral therapy remained an independent prognostic factor after adjustment for demographic factors and tumour staging on multivariate analysis. Exploratory analysis revealed that patients who commenced antiviral therapy during surveillance had lower HBV DNA, lower serum alanine transaminase, better hepatic reserves and higher rate of local treatment at diagnosis of HCC.
This study provides evidence that commencement of antiviral therapy during the surveillance period is associated with improvement in overall survival in HBV-related HCC.
Liver international: official journal of the International Association for the Study of the Liver 08/2011; 32(2):271-8. · 3.82 Impact Factor