Iron Levels in Hepatocytes and Portal Tract Cells Predict Progression and Outcomes of Patients With Advanced Chronic Hepatitis C

Department of Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut, USA.
Gastroenterology (Impact Factor: 16.72). 02/2011; 140(5):1490-500.e3. DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2011.01.053
Source: PubMed


Iron may influence severity and progression of non-hemochromatotic liver diseases. Our aim was to assess the relationship of iron and HFE genetic variations to progression and outcomes in the HALT-C Trial and whether PegIFN therapy influenced iron variables.
Participants were randomized to receive long-term PegIFN [n = 400] or no therapy [n = 413] for 3.5 y, with follow-up for up to 8.7 y [median 6.0 y]. Associations of patient characteristics with iron variables at baseline and over time were carried out using Kaplan-Meier analyses, Cox regression models, and repeated measures analysis of covariance.
Participants who developed clinical outcomes [CTP > 7, ascites, encephalopathy, variceal bleeding, SBP, HCC, death] had significantly higher baseline scores for stainable iron in hepatocytes and in portal tract cells than those without. There were significant direct correlations between stainable iron in portal triads and lobular and total Ishak inflammatory and fibrosis scores [P < 0.0001]. Iron in triads at baseline increased risk of outcomes (HR = 1.35, P = 0.02). Stainable iron in hepatocytes decreased, whereas that in portal stromal cells increased significantly [P < 0.0001] over time. Serum iron and TIBC fell significantly over time [P < 0.0001], as did serum ferritin [P = 0.0003]. Chronic PegIFN treatment did not affect stainable iron. HFE genetic variations did not correlate with outcomes, including development of hepatocellular carcinoma.
Stainable iron in hepatocytes and portal tract cells is a predictor of progression and clinical and histological outcomes in advanced chronic hepatitis C. Chronic low-dose PegIFN therapy did not improve outcomes, nor iron variables.

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    • "The complexity of the interplay between iron and CHC is underscored by recent finding that mutations in HFE, particularly the common H63D variation, while being associated with higher hepatic and total body iron, is also related to a significantly higher likelihood of complete and sustained responses to antiviral therapy [78]. A recent study shows that stainable iron in hepatocytes and portal tract cells is a predictor of progression and clinical and histological outcomes in advanced chronic hepatitis C while chronic administration low-dose of peginterferon did not improve outcomes, nor iron variables [79]. "
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