November 17, 2021 MEDSCAPE
Although the risk for liver cancer diminishes for patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections for whom virus is eliminated with direct-acting antiviral (DAA) drugs, these patients are not out of the woods, and those who do not have a sustained viral response (SVR) are at substantially higher risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), results of a large study show.
Among the patients with liver cirrhosis from HCV infections treated at 30 centers in Italy, a large percentage had an SVR after treatment with DAA drugs. Only a small percentage of this group subsequently developed HCC.
In contrast, not having an SVR was associated with a more than sevenfold higher risk for liver cancer, said Loreta A. Kondili, MD, PhD, from the Center for Global Health at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, in Rome, Italy, during a presentation of the findings at The Liver Meeting 2021: American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), held online.
"Failure to achieve SVR after DAA treatment is strongly associated with the probability of HCC development. Older age, [HCV] genotype 3, and low platelet counts and albumin levels are independent factors of HCC development despite viral eradication," she said.