The natural history of hepatitis C virus (HCV) among patients after renal transplantation (RT) remains incompletely defined. We conducted a systematic review of the published medical literature on the impact of hepatitis C antibody status on survival of patients who received RT. We used the random effects model of DerSimonian and Laird to generate a summary estimate of the relative risk (RR) for mortality and graft loss with HCV seropositivity across the published studies.
We identified eight clinical trials (6365 unique patients); six (75%) were cohort studies and two (2/8 = 25%) controlled trials, respectively. Pooling of study results demonstrated that presence of anti-HCV antibody was an independent and significant risk factor for death and graft failure after RT; the summary estimate for RR was 1.79 (95% CI, 1.57–2.03; homogeneity test, p = 0.0427) and 1.56 (95% CI, 1.35–1.80; homogeneity test, p = 0.0192), respectively. As a cause of death, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and liver cirrhosis were significantly more frequent among anti-HCV positive than anti-HCV negative RT patients.
This meta-analysis demonstrates that RT recipients with anti-HCV antibody have an increased risk of mortality and graft failure compared with HCV antibody negative patients.