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Sustained virological response to oral hepatitis C virus treatment associated with reduced mortality in an Italian cohort

April 13, 2018

13 April 2018, Paris, France: Patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection who achieve a sustained virological response (SVR) after direct-acting antiviral agent (DAA) treatment have lower all-cause mortality, according to a real-world study presented today at The International Liver Congress™ 2018 in Paris, France. The study, conducted in Italy, found that patients who achieved SVR were at reduced risk of death from both liver-related and other causes.

Chronic HCV infection affects an estimated 71 million people globally.19 Left untreated, a significant number of those people will develop cirrhosis or liver cancer, which leads to the death of an estimated 700,000 people with HCV infection each year.20 SVR, defined as undetectable HCV RNA 12 or 24 weeks after the end of therapy, equates to cure in >99% of patients.21 Although DAAs have proven highly effective at curing HCV, longer-term morbidity and mortality following DAA-induced SVR has not been well characterized.22

'The long-term health benefits of an HCV cure, in terms of survival, need to be evaluated in long-term, real-world settings', explained Dr Vincenza Calvaruso from the University of Palermo in Italy, and lead author of the study. 'We were able to prospectively follow almost 5,000 patients from when they started DAA treatment and look at the impact of achieving SVR on their survival prospects, particularly in patients with Child-Pugh A compensated cirrhosis'.

The study evaluated data from the prospective RESIST-HCV (Rete Sicilia Selezione Terapia - HCV) cohort which collates data for all HCV cases at Sicilian liver centres.23 Patients who started DAA treatment in 22 centres between March 2015 and December 2016 (4,926 patients, mean age 65.9 ± 11.6 years, 57.6% male) were observed for a median of 65 weeks (range 1-199). The patients were at different stages of disease; 1,158 (23.5%) were non-cirrhotic, 3,326 (67.5%) had compensated cirrhosis, and 442 (9%) had decompensated cirrhosis. Following DAA treatment, more than 90% of patients achieved SVR.

Fifty-three patients (1.1%) died after the antiviral therapy, 23 from liver-related causes and 30 from unrelated causes such as cardiovascular disease and sepsis. Patients who failed to achieve SVR were almost 30 times more likely to die from any cause than those who did achieve SVR (HR 28.9; 95% CI 16.5, 50.8; p<0.001). Both liver-related and non-liver related mortality were predicted by lack of SVR (HR 14.9, 95% CI 6.3, 35.1; p<0.001 and HR 41.77, 95% CI 17.3, 100.9; p<0.001, respectively) and by presence of decompensated cirrhosis (Child-Pugh B; HR 29.4, 95% CI 3.8, 223.9; p<0.001 and HR 3.0, 95% CI 1.4, 6.2; p=0.006, respectively). Body mass index and the presence of diabetes were also found to be predictors of non-liver-related mortality.

'We found that in this real-world setting with patients using a variety of DAA regimens, achieving SVR reduced mortality from both liver-related and unrelated causes at all stages of disease', said Dr Calvaruso. 'An interesting finding that deserves further investigation was a reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality for patients achieving SVR'.

'DAA therapy results in the achievement of SVR, which is a cure of HCV infection in more than 90% of patients', said Prof. Markus Cornberg from the Hannover Medical School, Germany, and EASL Governing Board Member. 'However, a recent Cochrane analysis has challenged whether or not DAA therapy will have an impact on mortality rates. These data are therefore important in documenting that achievement of SVR is beneficial and associated with reduced mortality'.
About The International Liver Congress™

This annual congress is the biggest event in the EASL calendar, attracting scientific and medical experts from around the world to learn about the latest in liver research. Attending specialists present, share, debate and conclude on the latest science and research in hepatology, working to enhance the treatment and management of liver disease in clinical practice. This year, the congress is expected to attract approximately 10,000 delegates from all corners of the globe. The International Liver Congress™ 2018 will take place from 11¬-15 April 2018 at the Paris Convention Centre, Paris, France.

About The European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL)

Since its foundation in 1966, this not-for-profit organization has grown to over 4,000 members from all over the world, including many of the leading hepatologists in Europe and beyond. EASL is the leading liver association in Europe, having evolved into a major European association with international influence, and with an impressive track record in promoting research in liver disease, supporting wider education and promoting changes in European liver policy.


For more information, please contact the ILC Press Office at: Onsite location reference

Session title: Parallel Session: Parallel session: Clinical impact of HCV cure
Time, date and location of session: 14. April 2018, 08:00 AM - 08:15 AM, Main Plenary
Presenter: Dr Vincenza Calvaruso, Italy
Abstract: Disease outcomes after DAA-induced SVR: data from the RESIST-HCV cohort (4253)

Author disclosures

None reported in relation to this study.


19. World Health Organization. Global health sector strategy on viral hepatitis 2016-2021. June 2016. Available from: Last accessed: February 2018.

20. GBD 2013 Mortality and Causes of Death Collaborators. Global, regional, and national age-sex specific all-cause and cause-specific mortality for 240 causes of death, 1990-2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. Lancet. 2015;385(9963):117-71.

21. European Association for the Study of the Liver. EASL recommendations on treatment of hepatitis C 2016. J Hepatol. 2016;2017;66:153-94.

22. Jakobsen JC, et al. Direct-acting antivirals for chronic hepatitis C. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017;18:9.

23. Cartabellotta F, et al. The HCV Sicily Network: a web-based model for the management of HCV chronic liver diseases. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2016;20(1 Suppl):11-16.

European Association for the Study of the Liver

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