Extended hepatitis C treatment after liver transplant may benefit patients

May 02, 2010

DETROIT - Extending hepatitis C treatment for liver transplant patients beyond current standards results in high clearance rates of the hepatitis C virus from the blood, and a low relapse rate, according to a study by Henry Ford Hospital.

"We found that patients who achieved a sustained virological response were more likely to have had extended treatment after transplant," says Matthew Moeller, M.D., gastroenterology fellow at Henry Ford Hospital and lead author of the study.

"In the study, we saw a trend toward decreased mortality as sustained virological response was found to be associated with a 100 percent five-year survival rate vs. 86 percent for those without."

Although, statistically insignificant, the trend could show significance with longer follow-up and a larger sample size, explains Dr. Moeller.

Study results will be presented May 2 at the Digestive Diseases Week conference in New Orleans.

The study looked at 241 consecutive liver transplant patients from 1999-2006. Patients were offered treatment if they tested positive for hepatitis C, had recurrent hepatitis C with at least Stage I fibrosis on biopsy, and stable immunosuppression for a minimum of three months. Patients received either non-pegylated interferon tiw or pegylated interferon weekly in combination with ribavirin.

Of the study patients with hepatitis C, 66 were eligible for treatment, and 22 achieved sustained virological response. Only two patients (8 percent) relapsed. This is in contrast to typical relapse rates of 30-35 percent in non-transplant patients treated with standard therapy. Genotype 1 patients failed more than genotype 2 or 3 patients in achieving sustained virological response (27 percent vs. 70 percent).

Dr. Moeller notes that 35 percent of patients who went on to achieve sustained virological response first became virus-negative at or following week 24.

"Our results suggest that even if patients are positive at week 24, there is still a 35 percent chance that they can achieve sustained viral clearance with extended treatment," says Dr. Moeller.
-end-
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, more than 16,000 liver transplants were performed last year and there are currently almost 18,000 Americans on the liver transplant list. EDITOR'S NOTE: Dr. Matthew Moeller is available for interviews.

Funding: Henry Ford Hospital

Henry Ford Health System

Related Hepatitis Articles from Brightsurf:

Busting Up the Infection Cycle of Hepatitis B
Researchers at the University of Delaware have gained new understanding of the virus that causes hepatitis B and the ''spiky ball'' that encloses its genetic blueprint.

Liver cancer: Awareness of hepatitis D must be raised
Scientists from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) have studied the most serious consequence of chronic hepatitis: hepatocellular carcinoma.

Hepatitis B: New therapeutic approach may help to cure chronic hepatitis B infection
Researchers at Helmholtz Zentrum München, Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) have developed a novel therapeutic approach to cure chronic hepatitis B.

Anti-hepatitis medicine surprises
A new effective treatment of hepatitis C not only combats the virus, but is also effective against potentially fatal complications such as reduced liver functioning and cirrhosis.

Nanotechnology delivers hepatitis B vaccine
X-ray imaging shows that nanostructured silica acts as a protective vehicle to deliver intact antigen to the intestine so that it can trigger an immune response.

Checkmate for hepatitis B viruses in the liver
Researchers at Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technical University of Munich, working in collaboration with researchers at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf and the University Hospital Heidelberg, have for the first time succeeded in conquering a chronic infection with the hepatitis B virus in a mouse model.

How common is Hepatitis C infection in each US state?
Hepatitis C virus infection is a major cause of illness and death in the United States and injection drug use is likely fueling many new cases.

New strains of hepatitis C found in Africa
The largest population study of hepatitis C in Africa has found three new strains of the virus circulating in the general population in sub-Saharan Africa.

High stability of the hepatitis B virus
At room temperature, hepatitis B viruses (HBV) remain contagious for several weeks and they are even able to withstand temperatures of four degrees centigrade over the span of nine months.

Findings could lead to treatment of hepatitis B
Researchers have gained new insights into the virus that causes hepatitis B -- a life-threatening and incurable infection that afflicts more than 250 million people worldwide.

Read More: Hepatitis News and Hepatitis Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.