Summary Background Although the short-term benefits of a sustained virological response (SVR) to interferon-based therapies of chronic hepatitis C (CHC) are well known, the long-term consequences of SVR are less clear. Aim To assess changes in markers of disease activity and fibrosis in patients followed up to 23 years post-SVR. Methods The first 103 SVR patients (from 1984 to 2003) at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center were evaluated. Serum markers before treatment and at the last visit were compared. Evaluations after 2007 included transient elastography (TE). Results Of 103 patients, three subsequently relapsed 0.7, 6.3 and 6.5 years post therapy. The remaining 100 patients (56 men, mean age 56 years) maintained SVR at final follow-up. No patients developed hepatic decompensation, but one with pre-treatment cirrhosis died 12 years post SVR of hepatocellular carcinoma. In comparison to pre-treatment values, markers improved at follow-up, including mean ALT (152-27 U/L), AST (87-24 U/L), alkaline phosphatase (78-69 U/L), IgG (1463-1113 mg/dL), platelet count (209 000-239 000/μL) and AST to platelet count ratio index (APRI: 1.31-0.33). TE was performed in 69 patients and was normal (13.8) in 9%. TE and platelet counts at follow-up correlated with fibrosis on pre-treatment liver biopsy (P <0.001). Conclusions In 97% of patients with CHC, SVR is durable without evidence of disease progression, although some degree of hepatic fibrosis may persist and patients with pre-treatment cirrhosis are at continuing low risk for hepatocellular carcinoma.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)