Get access

Progressive fibrosis significantly correlates with hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with a sustained virological response

Authors


  • Conflict of interest: The authors declare that they have nothing to disclose regarding funding or conflict of interest with respect to the manuscript.

Abstract

Aim

Hepatocellular carcinoma develops even in some patients who achieve a sustained virological response following treatment for hepatitis C virus infection. This study investigated the relationship between changes in fibrosis, as assessed by sequential biopsies, and development of hepatocellular carcinoma in patients who achieved a sustained virological response for hepatitis C virus.

Methods

We enrolled 97 patients with sustained virological response who had undergone initial biopsies before therapy and sequential biopsies at an average of 5.8 ± 1.9 years after the initial biopsy. Factors associated with hepatocellular carcinoma were retrospectively analyzed.

Results

The liver fibrotic stage regressed in 44 patients (45%), remained stable in 47 patients (48%) and progressed in six patients (6%). The fibrotic stage significantly decreased, from 1.54 ± 0.86 to 1.16 ± 1.07 units. Hepatocellular carcinoma was identified in 12 patients (12.4%). The cumulative incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with progressive fibrosis was significantly higher than that in patients with regressed or stable fibrosis (P < 0.001). A Cox proportional hazards regression analysis confirmed that progressive fibrosis in sequential liver biopsies (hazard ratio [HR], 8.30; P = 0.001) and low platelet counts before treatment (HR, 8.69; P = 0.006) were significant independent factors associated with the development of hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with a sustained virological response.

Conclusion

Progressive fibrosis, assessed by sequential biopsies, was significantly correlated with development of hepatocellular carcinoma in patients who had achieved a sustained virological response for hepatitis C virus.

Ancillary