Direct-acting antivirals for hepatitis C not linked to higher liver cancer risk in most studies
with hepatitis C who take treatment with direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) do not
appear to have a higher risk of developing liver cancer compared to those
treated with interferon, and the seemingly higher rates seen in some
studies are attributable to risk factors such as older age and more advanced
liver disease, according to a set of studies presented Thursday at the International
Liver Congress in Amsterdam. The Congress is the annual meeting of the European
Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL).
years or decades, chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection can lead to serious
liver disease including cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Successful
treatment of hepatitis C – sustained virological response, or continued
undetectable HCV RNA at 12 week post-treatment – is expected to reduce the risk
of liver disease progression and development of HCC. But liver damage is not
fully reversible, and people who already have cirrhosis when they start therapy
remain at ongoing risk
for liver cancer.
there has been conflicting evidence about the likelihood of liver cancer
occurring or recurring after treatment with DAAs versus interferon-based
year's EASL meeting, researchers reported the first
suggesting that people who achieve sustained response with DAAs might be at
greater risk for liver cancer. Italian researchers reported that hepatitis C patients with cirrhosis who were treated with DAAs had a higher likelihood
of developing liver cancer, but this was limited to recurrence in people with a
prior history of HCC. A Spanish study published in the October 2016 edition of Journal of Hepatology also saw a higher than expected rate of HCC recurrence.
In contrast, a study presented at the American Association for the Study of Liver
Diseases (AASLD) Liver Meeting in November found that
treatment with DAAs was not linked to higher HCC risk in a Northern Italian cohort, although there
was some evidence that people treated with the new drugs may experience more
aggressive disease progression.