, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 570-578
Date: 17 Jan 2007

Clinical Implications of Hepatic Steatosis in Patients with Chronic Hepatitis C: A Multicenter Study of U.S. Veterans

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Studies have indicated a high prevalence of hepatic steatosis in patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC). To address the impact of steatosis on the clinical course of CHC and treatment response requires large multicenter studies. The present study analyzed hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected veterans enrolled in a U.S. Veteran Administration multicenter study of the epidemiology and response to interferon α-2b and ribavirin treatment. Of the 357 patients, 97.1% were males, with a mean age of 48.7±6.4 years, and 184 (51.5%) had hepatic steatosis. The mean body mass index (BMI) was 29.3±5.2 kg/m2, including 37.1% who were obese (BMI, ≥30 kg/m2). Stage III–IV fibrosis was present in 111 of 334 (33.3%) of the patients. After adjusting for age, race, and history of alcohol use in the past 12 months, only stage III–IV fibrosis was independently and significantly associated with hepatic steatosis (P=0.03). There was a trend of association between obesity and steatosis independent of the other factors. Only HCV genotype was independently associated with a sustained virological response (SVR) to interferon α-2b and ribavirin treatment after adjusting for age, alcohol use, steatosis, BMI, stage III–IV fibrosis, serum AFP, and HCV load. In conclusion, analyses of our multicenter trial data demonstrated that the prevalence of hepatic steatosis is 51.5% in HCV-infected U.S. veterans. We found that steatosis is independently associated with stage III–IV fibrosis. However, only HCV genotype, and not steatosis, obesity, or stage III–IV fibrosis, was associated with SVR to interferon α-2b and ribavirin treatment.

Other members of the VA HCV-001 Study Group are listed in the Appendix