Antivirals for HCV improve kidney and cardiovascular diseases in diabetic patients

December 11, 2013

Researchers from Taiwan reveal that antiviral therapy for hepatitis C virus (HCV) improves kidney and cardiovascular outcomes for patients with diabetes. Results of the study published in Hepatology, a journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, show that incidences of kidney disease, stroke, and heart attack were lower in patients treated with pegylated interferon and ribavirin compared to HCV patients not treated with antivirals or diabetic patients not infected with the virus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that diabetes affects 347 million individuals worldwide and another 170 million people are living with chronic HCV. Previous research suggests a link between diabetes and chronic HCV, with HCV infected individuals having a greater chance of developing insulin resistance and diabetes. Moreover, HCV patients with insulin resistance, with or without diabetes, have a poor response to antiviral treatment, increased progression of liver fibrosis and greater risk of developing liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma).

"There is growing evidence of an association between diabetes and HCV," explains lead author, Chun-Ying Wu, MD, PhD, MPH from Taichung Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan. "Our study investigates if antiviral therapy used to treat HCV infection also improves diabetes outcomes."

For this population-based study researchers used data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database, which has collected healthcare details for all residents of the country since 1997. The team indentified 1, 411 patients with diabetes and HCV who were enrolled in the study, and received pegylated interferon plus ribavirin. There were also 1,411 individuals in the untreated group and 5,644 patients with diabetes and without HCV in the uninfected cohort. Follow-up for all participants was from 2003 to 2011.

Findings indicate that the 8-year cumulative incidences of end-stage renal disease in the treated, untreated and uninfected groups were 1.1%, 9.3%, and 3.3%, respectively. Further analysis found stroke incidence was 3.1% for treated patients, 5.3% for untreated and 6.1 for uninfected subjects. Acute coronary syndrome--an umbrella term the American Heart Association uses to define diseases, such as heart attack or angina, where blood to the heart is blocked--occurred in 4.1%, 6.6% and 7.4% of treated, untreated and uninfected patients.

"Our findings suggest that HCV may cause clinical complications related to diabetes. But these issues are mitigated by HCV antiviral therapy, specifically pegylated interferon plus ribavirin, which was found to reduce risks of kidney disease, stroke and cardiovascular diseases in diabetic patients," concludes Dr. Wu. The authors recommend further examination of the underlying relationship between HCV and diabetes.
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This study was funded in part by grants from Taiwan's National Health Research Institutes (PH-100-PP-54, PH-101-PP-23) and Taiwan's National Science Council (NSC 101-2314-B-650 -003).

This study is published in Hepatology. Media wishing to receive a PDF of the article may contact sciencenewsroom@wiley.com.

Full citation: "Antiviral Treatment for Hepatitis C Virus Infection is Associated with Improved Renal and Cardiovascular Outcomes in Diabetic Patients." Yao-Chun Hsu, Jaw-Town Lin, Hsiu J. Ho, Yu-Hsi Kao, Yen-Tsung Huang, Nai-Wan Hsiao, Ming-Shiang Wu, Yi-Ya Liu and Chun-Ying Wu. Hepatology; (DOI: 10.1002/hep.26892).

URL: http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/hep.26892

Author Contact: Media wishing to speak with Dr. Wu may contact dr.wu.taiwan@gmail.com or at +866-921388866. Dr. Yao-Chun Hsu, the first author of this article, may be reached at +886-988687726.

About the Journal

Hepatology is the premier publication in the field of liver disease, publishing original, peer-reviewed articles concerning all aspects of liver structure, function and disease. Each month, the distinguished Editorial Board monitors and selects only the best articles on subjects such as immunology, chronic hepatitis, viral hepatitis, cirrhosis, genetic and metabolic liver diseases and their complications, liver cancer, and drug metabolism. Hepatology is published on is published by Wiley on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). For more information, please visit http://wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/hep.

About Wiley

Wiley is a global provider of content-enabled solutions that improve outcomes in research, education, and professional practice. Our core businesses produce scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, reference works, books, database services, and advertising; professional books, subscription products, certification and training services and online applications; and education content and services including integrated online teaching and learning resources for undergraduate and graduate students and lifelong learners.

Founded in 1807, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (NYSE: JWa, JWb), has been a valued source of information and understanding for more than 200 years, helping people around the world meet their needs and fulfill their aspirations. Wiley and its acquired companies have published the works of more than 450 Nobel laureates in all categories: Literature, Economics, Physiology or Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, and Peace. Wiley's global headquarters are located in Hoboken, New Jersey, with operations in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Canada, and Australia. The Company's website can be accessed at http://www.wiley.com.

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