Extending treatment after liver transplant may benefit patients with hepatitis C recurrence

Nov 01, 2009

Extending hepatitis C treatment for liver transplant patients beyond current practice results in high rates of clearance of the hepatitis C virus from the blood, as well as a low rate of relapse, according to a Henry Ford Hospital study.

"We found that patients who achieved a sustained virological response were more likely to have had extended treatment," says Kimberly Brown, M.D., Division head of Gastroenterology at Henry Ford Hospital and senior author of the study.

"In addition, prolonging treatment for 52 weeks after patients were virus negative, resulted in a relapse rate of only 8 percent." This is in contrast to typical relapse rates of 30-35 percent in non transplant patients treated with standard therapy.

Study results will be presented during an oral presentation Oct. 31 at the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases' Annual Meeting in Boston.

The study looked at 241 consecutive patients from 1999-2006. Patients were offered treatment if they tested positive hepatitis C, had recurrent hepatitis C with at least Stage I fibrosis on biopsy, and stable for a minimum of three months. Patients received either non-pegylated interferon tiw or pegylated interferon weekly in combination with ribavirin.

Of the study patients with , 66 were eligible for treatment, and 22 achieved sustained virological response. Only two patients (8 percent) relapsed.

After week 24 of treatment, 35 percent of patients who achieved a sustained virologic response became virus negative.

"These results call into question previous studies which suggested 'stop rules' at weeks 12 and 24 when there is no response to inferferon and ribravirin," says Dr. Brown. "Our results suggest that even if patients are positive at week 24, there is still a 35 percent chance that they can achieve sustained viral clearance. We think this may be beneficial to extend treatment beyond the standard 48 weeks total."

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, more than 16,000 liver transplants were performed last year and there are currently almost 18,000 Americans on the liver transplant list.

Source: Henry Ford Health System (news : web)

Explore further: World first prison-based hepatitis C treatment – just one tablet a day

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researcher Announced Cure for Hepatitis C

May 22, 2007

The use of peginterferon alone, or in combination with ribavirin, points to a cure for hepatitis C, the leading cause of cirrhosis, liver cancer and the need for liver transplant, a Virginia Commonwealth University researcher ...

New treatment option for patients with chronic hepatitis C

May 28, 2009

A new combination therapy of daily consensus interferon (CIFN) and ribavirin is effective for some people with chronic hepatitis C (HCV) who do not respond to standard therapy. The treatment works particularly well in interferon-sensitive ...

Good news for some hard-to-treat hepatitis C patients

Jun 16, 2009

In a multi-center trial led by a Saint Louis University researcher, investigators found that a new combination therapy of daily consensus interferon and ribavirin helps some hepatitis C patients who have not responded to ...

Recommended for you

Obama's Ebola response: Is it enough and in time?

3 hours ago

President Barack Obama declared Tuesday that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa could threaten security around the world, and he ordered 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the region in emergency aid muscle ...

First domestic case of chikungunya in Brazil

3 hours ago

Brazil's authorities on Tuesday reported the first domestically contracted cases of the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus, prompting the government to announce it was stepping up attempts to control the disease.

Australia promises $6.4 million to fight Ebola

3 hours ago

Australia announced on Wednesday it will immediately provide an additional 7 million Australian dollars ($6.4 million) to help the international response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

User comments : 0