Published online Jul 27, 2011. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v3.i7.198
Revised: June 2, 2011
Accepted: June 9, 2011
Published online: July 27, 2011
AIM: To evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of an extended treatment protocol and to determine the predictors of sustained virological response (SVR) after liver transplantation (LT).
METHODS: Between August 2005 and November 2008, patients with recurrent hepatitis C virus (HCV) after LT were selected for treatment if liver biopsy showed at least grade 2 inflammation and/or stage 2 fibrosis. All patients were to receive pegylated interferon (PEG)/regimens combining ribavirin (RBV) for an additional 48 wk after HCV undetectability.
RESULTS: Extended protocol treatment was initiated in thirty patients. Overall, 73% had end of treatment response and 60% had SVR. Nineteen patients completed treatment per protocol, of them, sixteen (84%) had end of treatment response, and fourteen (74%) achieved SVR. Both early virological response and 24-week virological response were individually associated with SVR but this association was not significant on multivariate analysis. Eleven patients (37%) discontinued therapy due to adverse effects. Cytopenias were the most common and most severe adverse effect, and required frquent growth factor use, dose adjustments and treatment cessations. The risk of rejection was not increased.
CONCLUSION: Recurrent HCV after LT can be safely treated with extended virological response-guided therpy using PEG/RBV, but requires close monitoring for treatment-related adverse effects, particularly cytopenias.