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Keywords:

  • alcohol;
  • compensated liver cirrhosis;
  • hepatitis C virus;
  • natural history

Abstract

Background and Aim:  The natural history of alcoholic cirrhosis, especially in Asian countries, has not been completely understood thus far.

Methods:  We retrospectively compared the outcomes of compensated cirrhosis between Japanese alcoholic and hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected patients.

Results:  A total of 227 patients (75 alcoholic and 152 HCV-infected patients) with compensated cirrhosis were enrolled. The median follow-up period was 4.9 years. The cumulative rates of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development were significantly lower in the alcoholic patients than in the HCV-infected patients (6.8% vs 50.3% at 10 years, P = 0.0003), while the cumulative rates of hepatic decompensation (37.4% vs 51.7% at 10 years) and survival (53.8% vs 47.4% at 10 years) did not significantly differ between the two groups (Kaplan-Meir analysis). The main causes of death were hepatic failure and non-hepatic diseases in the alcoholic patients and HCC and hepatic failure in the HCV-infected patients. Multivariate analyses using the Cox proportional hazard model revealed that the risk of HCC was lower in alcoholic cirrhosis than in HCV-related cirrhosis (hazard ratio (HR), 0.46), while the risk of hepatic decompensation and mortality was the same. Predictors of decreased survival were non-abstinence (HR, 2.53) in the alcoholic patients and low serum albumin level (1.58) in the HCV-infected patients.

Conclusions:  Survival of patients with alcoholic cirrhosis was similar to that of patients with HCV-related cirrhosis. The risk of HCC development was lower in alcoholic cirrhosis than in HCV-related cirrhosis. Abstinence from alcohol was important for improving the survival of patients with alcoholic cirrhosis.