With advent of direct-acting antiviral agents (DAA), hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment is dramatically increasing. Although few studies reported rates of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) recurrence following DAA treatment, there have been no studies that followed sufficient number of DAA-treated patients after successful HCC treatment to examine HCC recurrence.
We conducted a cohort study of HCV+ patients who had successfully treated HCC before initiating DAAs. We conducted medical record reviews to confirm HCC diagnosis, treatment, and remission prior to DAA initiation, and subsequent HCC recurrence. We calculated HCC recurrence rate and examined the recurrent tumor characteristics. We used Cox proportional hazard model to identify factors associated with HCC recurrence.
We identified 264 HCV+ patients who received DAAs after an average of 30.9 (20.6) months following HCC treatment. HCC recurred in 26.1% patients during 23.3 (9.8) months follow-up, at a rate of 0.38 [0.30, 0.48] per 1000 person-month. Most (82.3%) recurrent HCC were early stage. Receiving non-curative treatment for HCC was associated with a higher risk of recurrence than curative treatment (HRadj = 2.06, [1.24, 3.40]). The risk of HCC recurrence decreased with longer duration between HCC treatment completion and DAA initiation (HRadj = 0.97, [0.95, 0.99] per additional month). Compared with patients who achieved sustained virological response (SVR), those without SVR had significantly increased risk of HCC recurrence (HRadj = 4.17, [1.48, 11.75]).
We conclude that most HCV+ patients with HCC benefit from DAA treatment; however, timing of DAA initiation after HCC treatment should be carefully considered.
Dig Dis Sci. 2019 Apr 30. doi: 10.1007/s10620-019-05641-3. [Epub ahead of print]