A retrospective cohort study of partial splenic embolization for antiviral therapy in chronic hepatitis C with thrombocytopenia
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Although partial splenic embolization (PSE) is reportedly effective prior to interferon (IFN)-based therapy, the number of subjects in these studies is small, and the appropriate candidates and disease prognosis remain unknown.
PSE was performed in 30 patients with advanced hepatitis C who could not receive IFN-based therapy because of thrombocytopenia, platelet counts of ≤100,000/mm3, and hypersplenism. Also, we compared 25 PSE-treated patients with 23 PSE-untreated patients with thrombocytopenia receiving pegylated IFN (PEG-IFN)-alpha 2b plus ribavirin over the same period.
PSE significantly increased platelet and leukocyte counts. PSE was well tolerated with no severe complications. All the patients could receive IFN-based therapy. Discontinuation of therapy in the total cohort of PSE-treated patients was not due to thrombocytopenia. Although PSE did not significantly increase the sustained virological response (SVR) rate, it significantly maintained higher platelet counts throughout the observation period and increased the percentage of patients with 100% adherence to PEG-IFN in the total controlled study population and in subjects with genotype 2. In PSE-treated patients with genotype 2, a trend towards increased SVR was noted. Four patients developed hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) at a median of 14.5 months after PSE, even though two of these patients had achieved an SVR.
IFN-based therapy following PSE had an advantage in the maintenance of higher platelet counts, and PSE possibly caused an increase in adherence to PEG-IFN. Although patients with genotype 2 might be better candidates for PSE, further evaluation is needed. Careful follow-up of PSE-treated patients, even though they may have achieved an SVR, is needed to detect HCC.
KeywordsPartial splenic embolization Chronic hepatitis C Interferon Ribavirin Sustained virological response Thrombocytopenia
Hepatitis C antiviral long-term treatment against cirrhosis
Hepatitis C virus
IFN sensitivity-determining region
Partial splenic embolization
Spearman rank correlation coefficient
Sustained virological response