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ABSTRACT: The impact of interferon (IFN) treatment on the occurrence of complications related to hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related cirrhosis is debated because the majority of studies are retrospective. We designed a randomized controlled trial comparing the efficacy of prolonged IFN alfa-2a treatment vs nontreatment on complication-free survival in patients with compensated HCV cirrhosis.
A total of 102 patients (mean age, 60.5 +/- 9.5 y; male/female ratio, .82) with biopsy examination-proven HCV cirrhosis, Child-Pugh score A, who were hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) free, and had at least 1 risk factor of complications were randomized to receive IFN or no therapy for 24 months.
During the follow-up evaluation, the complication rate was 24.5%: HCC occurred in 12 and decompensation unrelated to HCC occurred in 13 patients. The number of HCC patients was similar in both groups. The probability of complication-free survival was not significantly different between treated and untreated patients (98% and 72.3% vs 90% and 70.7% at 12 and 24 mo, respectively, P = .59). The median time until complication occurrence was 17.1 months in the treated group vs 13.6 months in the untreated group (P = .2).
This randomized controlled trial showed that a 2-year course of IFN has little or no impact on complication-free survival in patients with high-risk compensated HCV cirrhosis.
Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology: the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association 04/2007; 5(4):502-7. · 5.64 Impact Factor