Association between sustained virological response and clinical outcomes in patients with hepatitis C infection and hepatocellular carcinoma

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BACKGROUND: Sustained viral response (SVR) improves survival for patients with hepatitis C (HCV) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after curative treatment; however, the benefit of SVR in those with active HCC with a significant competing risk of mortality is unknown. This study aimed to evaluate the association between SVR and outcomes in patients with active HCC.

METHODS: The authors performed a multicenter, retrospective cohort study including consecutive adults with HCV cirrhosis and treatment-naive HCC diagnosed between 2014 and 2018. Patients were stratified into two groups: active viremia (n = 431) and SVR before HCC diagnosis (n = 135). All patients underwent nonsurgical therapy as their initial treatment and were followed until liver transplantation, last follow-up, or death. The primary outcome was incident or worsening hepatic decompensation within 6 months and the secondary outcome was overall survival. All analyses used inverse probability of treatment weights (IPTW) to account for differences between the nonrandomized cohorts.

RESULTS: Post-SVR patients had significantly lower odds of hepatic decompensation compared to viremic patients (odds ratio [OR], 0.18; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.06-0.59). Results were consistent among subgroups of patients with Child Pugh A cirrhosis (OR, 0.22; 95% CI, 0.04-0.77), Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer stage B/C HCC (OR, 0.20; 95% CI, 0.04-0.65), and those receiving nonablative HCC therapies (OR, 0.21; 95% CI, 0.07-0.67). However, in IPTW multivariable Cox regression, SVR was not associated with improved survival (hazard ratio, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.56-1.12).

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with HCV-related HCC and SVR are less likely to experience hepatic decompensation than viremic patients, suggesting patients with HCC who are undergoing nonsurgical therapies may benefit from DAA treatment.

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ePub ahead of print