Antiviral treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) is aimed at the persistent eradication of the virus, the so-called sustained virological response (SVR), with the aim ultimately being to prevent the development of liver-related complications and improve patients’ survival. Patients with HCV-related compensated cirrhosis are the group most likely to benefit from viral clearance, as several retrospective studies have shown liver complications rates to be positively modified by the achievement of a SVR. Whether these benefits rely on viral clearance or on the histological improvements seen following successful interferon (IFn)-based therapies has recently been a matter for debate, as studies have shown cirrhosis to regress in some patients with a SVR. Whatever the mechanisms, cirrhosis has the uncanny ability to be both a dominant indication for therapy, as well as one of the strongest baseline factors associated with reduced efficacy of any IFn-based regimen. This has led to the development of alternative treatment strategies, such as low dose pegylated IFn (PegIFn) monotherapy, that unfortunately has proven to be of limited efficacy. For this reason regimens able to clear the virus without relying on the broad antiviral effect of IFN are eagerly awaited.
Implication for health policy/practice/research/medical education:
Patients with HCV-related compensated cirrhosis are the group most to benefit from antiviral treatment as viral clearance has been shown by several retrospective studies to reduce rates of liver complications.
Please cite this paper as:
D’Ambrosio R, Aghemo A. Treatment of Patients With HCV Related Cirrhosis: Many Rewards With Very Few Risks. Hepat Mon. 2012;12(6): 361-8. DoI: 10.5812/hepatmon. 6095
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