Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2010; 32: 851–858
Background Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is third most common cause of tumour-related death in the US with hepatitis C virus (HCV) the most common aetiology. Surgical resection and tumour ablation are curative in patients who cannot be transplanted. With native liver having cirrhosis, HCC recurrence is a potential problem.
Aim To perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies evaluating efficacy of IFN to prevent HCC recurrence after its curative treatment in HCV-related cirrhosis.
Methods Ten studies (n = 645, 301 treated with IFN) on the use of IFN after resection or ablation of HCV-associated HCC were analysed.
Results Pooled data showed benefit of IFN for HCC prevention with OR (95% CI) of 0.26 (0.15–0.45); P < 0.00001. The proportion of patients surviving at 5 years (n = 505 in 6 studies) was in favour of IFN with OR of 0.31 [(95% CI 0.21–0.46); P < 0.00001]. Data were homogeneous for HCC recurrence (χ2 12.05, P = 0.21) and survival (χ2 6.93, P = 0.44). The benefit of IFN was stronger with sustained virological response compared with nonresponders for HCC recurrence [0.19 (0.06–0.60); P = 0.005] and survival [0.31 (0.11–0.90); P = 0.03].
Conclusion Interferon treatment after curative resection or ablation of HCC in HCV-related cirrhotics prevents HCC recurrence and improves survival.