Early Treatment for HCV Infection Provides Benefits Beyond Liver Disease

Early treatment for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection may provide many benefits in the prevention of various HCV complications beyond liver disease, according to a longitudinal cohort study published in the Journal of Hepatology.

Infection with HCV is associated with several extrahepatic manifestations (EHMs), including metabolic, cardiovascular, renal, autoimmune, lymphoproliferative, and neurologic conditions. Although a sustained virologic response (SVR) to HCV treatment has been associated with marked reductions in all-cause and liver-related mortality, data are limited on the effect of SVR on the risk of developing EHMs. Therefore, researchers used data from the British Columbia Hepatitis Testers Cohort to estimate rates of chronic comorbidities other than liver disease between those who were cured and those who failed HCV treatment.

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Overall, investigators found that 10,264 individuals who were HCV-infected were treated with interferon, of whom 6023 (59%) achieved SVR. EHM risk was significantly reduced among patients with SVR for type 2 diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, or end-stage renal disease, ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke, and mood and anxiety disorders: But not for ischemic heart disease, major adverse cardiac events, or rheumatoid arthritis compared with patients who failed treatment.

“In conclusion, achieving SVR through interferon-based therapies was associated with a marked reduction in the incidence of several clinically important EHMs, including [type 2 diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, or end-stage renal disease], mood and anxiety disorders, and ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke,” stated the authors. They added that, “These findings suggest that expanded access to HCV treatments may reduce the growing burden and health-care resource utilization associated with chronic extrahepatic disease observed in this population.”

Disclosure: Some study authors declared affiliations with the pharmaceutical industry. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.


Rossi C, Jeong D, Wong S, et al, for the BC Hepatitis Testers Cohort Team. Sustained virologic response from interferon-based hepatitis C regimes is associated with reduced risk of extrahepatic manifestations [published online August 6, 2019]. J Hepatol. doi:10.1016/j.jhep.2019.07.021