, Volume 55, Issue 7, pp 2063-2069
Date: 02 Oct 2009

Antiviral Treatment of Patients with Recurrent Hepatitis C After Liver Transplantation with Pegylated Interferon

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Abstract

Background

The recurrence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) after liver transplantation (OLT) leads to recurrent cirrhosis in up to 40% of patients.

Aims

To identify patients who profit the most from antiviral therapy and to delineate whether early treatment after OLT is effective to reach sustained virological response (SVR), we analyzed factors associated to SVR during pegylated interferon/ribavirin (PegIFN/RBV) therapy.

Methods

A retrospective analysis of efficiency and viral decline kinetics in 83 HCV-infected liver transplant recipients who received therapy with PegIFN/RBV was carried out.

Results

Forty-one of 83 (49.4%) patients became HCV RNA-negative. SVR was achieved in 26/83 (31.3%) patients. Viral decline of at least 2 log 10 (n = 47) at week 12 was significantly associated with an end-of-treatment (EOT) response. Eleven early viral response patients were not able to clear HCV RNA, whereas five patients without a 2 log decline achieved SVR. The highest predictive value for SVR was an undetectable viremia at week 24 (92%).

Conclusions

The outcome of antiviral combination therapy for HCV reinfection after OLT can be best predicted by week-24 virologic response. The high SVR rates in patients with detectable HCV RNA at week 12 might suggest a prolonged treatment protocol in liver transplant recipients.

Sven C. Schmidt and M. Bahra contributed equally to this manuscript.