Treatment of chronic hepatitis B and C with interferon-alpha in renal allograft recipients: preliminary results



Abstract We evaluated the effects of treatment with interferon (IFN) on liver disease and renal allograft function in ten immunosuppressed cadaver kidney recipients. Two females and eight males (mean age 39 years) with biopsy-proven chronic active hepatitis (n= 8) or persistent hepatitis (n= 2) and serum positive for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and HBe antigen (n= 5) or serum positive for anti-HCV antibodies (n= 3) or serum positive for HBsAg, anti-HCV and anti-HDV antibodies (n= 2) received 3 million units IFN thrice weekly of 6 months. All patients responded with a reduction in serum aminotransferase activity and in five of them liver function completely normalized. Three patients among five infected with HBV cleared HBeAg. During the follow-up period liver function remained stable in 9 patients after discontinuation of IFN therapy. Three patients lost their grafts due to rejection 1, 2, and 4 months after IFN therapy, respectively. In six patients renal function remained stable during and after IFN therapy. We conclude that in selected groups of renal allograft recipients IFN can be used safely and effectively for the treatment of chronic viral hepatitis.