Impact of immunosuppressive therapy on recurrence of hepatitis C


  • Gregory T. Everson MD, FACP

    Professor of Medicine, Director of Hepatology, Corresponding author
    1. University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, CO
    • University of Colorado School of Medicine, 4200 E Ninth Ave, B-154, Denver, CO 80262. Telephone: 303-372-8862; FAX: 303-372-8868
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  • 1Approximately 10% to 25% of hepatitis C virus–infected recipients of liver allografts will develop cirrhosis within 5 years of transplantation; this acceleration of the natural history of hepatitis C is caused in part by immunosuppression.
  • 2Risk factors for aggressive recurrence, graft loss, and death are treated acute cellular rejection, methylprednisolone pulse therapy, and use of OKT3. There appears to be no consistent difference between cyclosporine and tacrolimus in their effects on hepatitis C.
  • 3The benefit of steroid withdrawal, although commonly practiced in transplant recipients with hepatitis C, has not been proven.
  • 4Mycophenolate mofetil may show synergistic antiviral properties when used with interferon; however, posttransplantation use has not been associated with consistent beneficial or deleterious effects.
  • 5Effects of other agents, such as sirolimus or interleukin-2–receptor antibodies, have not been adequately defined. Early reports suggest that disease activity may be more aggressive when these agents are constituents of the immunosuppressive regimen.