Projected future increase in aging hepatitis C virus–infected liver transplant candidates: A potential effect of hepatocellular carcinoma


  • This work was funded in part by grants from the National Center for Research Resources (KL2 RR024130), the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (DK076565), and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (DK076565).


In the United States, the peak hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibody prevalence of 4% occurred in persons born in the calendar years 1940-1965. The goal of this study was to examine observed and projected age-specific trends in the demand for liver transplantation (LT) among patients with HCV-associated liver disease stratified by concurrent hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). All new adult LT candidates registered with the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network for LT between 1995 and 2010 were identified. Patients who had primary, secondary, or text field diagnoses of HCV with or without HCC were identified. There were 126,862 new primary registrants for LT, and 52,540 (41%) had HCV. The number of new registrants with HCV dramatically differed by the age at calendar year, and this suggested a birth cohort effect. When the candidates were stratified by birth year in 5-year intervals, the birth cohorts with the highest frequency of HCV were as follows (in decreasing order): 1951-1955, 1956-1960, 1946-1950, and 1941-1945. These 4 birth cohorts, spanning from 1941 to 1960, accounted for 81% of all new registrants with HCV. A 4-fold increase in new registrants with HCV and HCC occurred between the calendar years 2000 and 2010 in the 1941-1960 birth cohorts. By 2015, we anticipate that an increasing proportion of new registrants with HCV will have HCC and be ≥60 years old (born in or before 1955). In conclusion, the greatest demand for LT due to HCV-associated liver disease is occurring among individuals born between 1941 and 1960. This demand appears to be driven by the development of HCC in patients with HCV. During the coming decade, the projected increase in the demand for LT from an aging HCV-infected population will challenge the transplant community to reconsider current treatment paradigms. Liver Transpl, 2012. © 2012 AASLD.