Subcirrhotic Liver Stiffness Cuts HCC Risk in Hepatitis B

HealthDay News — For patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB), achievement of subcirrhotic range of liver stiffness (sc-LS) with antiviral therapy (AVT) is associated with reduced risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), according to a study published in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Byung Seok Kim, from the Catholic University of Daegu School of Medicine in South Korea, and colleagues enrolled 209 patients with CHB-related advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis who received paired transient elastography examinations during AVT between 2007 and 2012. The authors examined whether achievement of sc-LS reduced the risk of developing HCC.

During the study period, the researchers found that after 2 years of AVT, 67.0% of patients achieved sc-LS and 13.4% of patients developed HCC. 

The achievement of sc-LS after AVT was independently correlated with reduced risk of development of HCC, on multivariate analysis (hazard ratio, 0.485; P =.047); older age and male gender correlated with increased risk (hazard ratios, 1.071 and 3.704, respectively; both P <.5). The risk of HCC development was increased for patients with a cirrhotic range of LS value after 2 years of AVT vs those with sc-LS (log-rank test, P =.020).

“The achievement of sc-LS after AVT can reduce the risk of HCC development in patients with CHB, even when advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis is apparent on starting AVT,” the authors write.

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Kim BS, Seo YS, Kim YS, et al. Reduced risk of hepatocellular carcinoma by achieving a subcirrhotic liver stiffness through antiviral agents in hepatitis B virus-related advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis [published online June 30, 2017]. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. doi: 10.1111/jgh.13854