Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Liver Cancer After Treatment For Hepatitis C

Page updated: October 2017

Liver Cancer After Treatment For Hepatitis C
Research demonstrates that while SVR markedly reduced liver-related complications and liver cancer, some long-term risk for liver cancer remained in those who were cured of Hepatitis C. But after direct-acting antiviral therapy does the risk of developing liver cancer increase?

This page offers an index of links to current data investigating the possible risk of developing liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma, or HCC) during and after direct-acting antiviral therapy in patients with hepatitis C.

October 2017
Oct 16, 2017
Short-term risk of hepatocellular carcinoma after hepatitis C virus eradication following direct-acting anti-viral treatment
In conclusion, our data showed no evidence of an increased risk of de novo HCC or recurrence by patients treated with interferon-free SOF-based regimens. However, cirrhosis was strongly associated with the short-term development of HCC after HCV eradication. Moreover, our findings underscore the fact that the serum EOT-AFP level is a useful marker for predicting de novo HCC for cirrhotic patients and that close HCC surveillance should be required for patients with a past history of HCC, especially for patients treated with noncurative procedures. Going forward, further studies will be required to elucidate the risk of HCC development over the long-term.....

Oct 3, 2017
HCV Treatment Not Associated with Liver Cancer, New Evidence Suggests
Kenneth Bender
An assessment of over 62,000 patients treated for hepatitis C (HCV) revealed no evidence to support the suggestion that direct acting antiviral (DAA) agents promote recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and found instead that successful treatment with or without DAAs is associated with reduced risk of HCC.

September 2017
Sep 18, 2017
Coverage OncLive - 2017 International Liver Cancer Association Annual Conference
Study Shows DAAs Are Not Associated With Increased HCC Recurrence Risk
Angelica Welch
Published Online: Monday, Sep 18, 2017
Direct acting antivirals (DAA) are a novel and completely oral hepatitis C therapy that is associated with a high response rate. DAAs are used in most patients being treated for hepatitis C, including those with decompensated cirrhosis.

Sep 12, 2017
Full Text Article Provided by NATAP
"Most HCV-infected patients in the United States will undergo DAA-based antiviral treatment in the next few years and the vast majority of them will achieve SVR. Our results suggest that DAA-induced SVR is associated with a 71% reduction in HCC risk (AHR 0.29, 95% CI 0.23-0.37) compared to treatment failure. The reduction in HCC risk associated with SVR was similar irrespective of whether SVR was achieved by DAA-ONLY, DAA+IFN or IFN-ONLY regimens. This suggests that eradication of HCV reduces HCC risk independently of how it is achieved. In contrast to prior reports that suggested an increased HCC risk in patients treated with DAAs[[3], [7]], we found that receipt of DAA-ONLY antiviral treatment was not associated with increased risk of HCC when compared to receipt of IFN-ONLY antiviral treatment.....We found no evidence that treatment with DAAs was associated with increased risk of HCC compared to treatment with IFN.

Sept 5, 2017
Risk for hepatocellular carcinoma after HCV antiviral therapy with DAAs: case closed?
Several studies of patients treated with interferon -based therapy nicely documented that the risk for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) was markedly lower in patients who achieved SVR compared to those without SVR. 5-7 As a result, it was naturally assumed that with higher cure rates with DAAs, cancer rates would start to decline. It was therefore surprising and unsettling in 2016 to see a series of reports of unexpectedly high rates of ‘early’ HCC recurrence after ‘curative’ therapy as well as higher than expected rates of de novo HCC in patients who achieved SVR with DAAs.
PDF Full Text Article - Provided by @HenryEChang via Twitter

August 2017
Aug 15, 2017
How Do Direct-Acting Antivirals for HCV Affect HCC Risk?
The latest data on the controversial hepatitis C-hepatocellular carcinoma treatment link are examined.

Aug 10, 2017
The risks of hepatocellular carcinoma development after HCV eradication are similar between patients treated with peg-interferon plus ribavirin and direct-acting antiviral therapy
The risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development is reduced following viral elimination by interferon therapy in chronic hepatitis C patients. However, the risk in patients treated with interferon-free direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) is unknown. We evaluated chronic hepatitis C patients who achieved viral eradication by pegylated-interferon plus ribavirin (PEG-IFN/RBV, n = 244) or daclatasvir plus asunaprevir (DCV/ASV, n = 154) therapy...

Aug 4, 2017
Liver cancer, mortality risks decrease with SVR after direct-acting antivirals
Patients who achieved sustained virologic response after direct-acting antiviral treatment also had significantly lower all-cause mortality and lower incident rates of…

July 2017
July 26, 2017
Medscape
With Hepatitis C Virus on the Run, Meet the New Challenge: Hepatocellular Carcinoma
Significant advances in the clinical practice of hepatology were addressed during this year's Digestive Disease Week. This review focuses on the concerns related to the apparent increase in the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

July 16
Hepatitis C virus eradication with direct antiviral agents and liver cancer recurrence: Is the best the enemy of the good? Antiviral therapy has long been perceived as an adjuvant treatment modality worth to be offered to patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection after successful removal of a hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), an approach dating more than two decades since interferon was first employed to treat non-A, non-B hepatitis.

July 10
DAAs do not affect HCC risk, SVR reduces risk
July 10, 2017
Recently published data showed a link between sustained virologic response and a reduced risk for hepatocellular carcinoma among patients treated with direct-acting…

July 3
Sustained response to direct-acting HCV antivirals tied to lower HCC risk
July 3, 2017
by Marilynn Larkin
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A sustained virologic response to direct-acting antiviral treatment of hepatitis C (HCV) is associated with a “considerable” reduction in the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), researchers say. Dr. Fasiha Kanwal of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas and colleagues analyzed data on 22,500 HCV patients (mean age 62) from 129 Veterans Health Administration hospitals who filled more than one prescription of sofosbuvir, simeprevir, ledipasvir, a combination of paritaprevir/ritonavir or ombitasvir and dasabuvir, and daclatasvir in 2015.

June 2017
June 26, 2017
Challenges in Treatment of Hepatitis C among Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma

June 3, 2017
Medscape Coverage from the International Liver Congress (ILC) 2017
Navigating the Hep C Treatment and Cancer Risk Minefield

May 2017
May 26
Hepatocellular carcinoma and direct- acting antivirals: A never ending story?
Vincenza Calvaruso* andAntonio Craxì Version of Record online: 24 MAY 2017 DOI: 10.1111/liv.13421
Liver International
Volume 37, Issue 6, pages 812–814, June 2017

Key Points
• The benefit of SVR is higher in patients without clinically significant portal hypertension
• HCC occurrence in patients with compensated cirrhosis is comparable to historical controls of patients who achieved SVR after interferon-based therapy.
• Patients who achieve SVR with DAAs had a lower risk of developing liver cancer than those patients whose HCV infection was not cured.
• Data available on patients with previous HCC do not show an increased risk of HCC recurrence and report a comparable rate of reappearance of cancer among DAA-treated and untreated patients.

Full Text

Link Provided By
Henry E. Chang via Twitter

May 26
Summary Of  Available Data:
New Hep C Treatment Not Linked to Liver Cancer
Contrary to some earlier research, most recent studies see no association between response to DAAs and HCC

Do HCV DAAs Increase HCC Recurrence Risk or Not?
Does the administration of direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy increase a patient’s risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) recurrence?

Direct-acting-antivirals (DAA) can cure patients of the life-threating hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, with cure rates exceeding 95%. However, questions have been raised about the long-term consequences of curing patients with DAAs, including a potential link between DAA treatment and the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Improved survival of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma and compensated HCV-related cirrhosis who attained SVR
Few studies examined the outcome of patients with HCV-related cirrhosis who developed hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The relative weight as determinant of death for cancer versus endstage-liver-disease (ESLD) and the benefit of HCV eradication remain undefined. This multicenter, retrospective analysis evaluates overall survival (OS), rate of decompensation and tumor recurrence in compensated HCC patients treated with IFN according to HCV status since HCC diagnosis.

Of Interest
HCC in presence of HCV decreases cure rate in DAA treatment
Patients with hepatocellular carcinoma and hepatitis C were less likely to achieve sustained virologic response while receiving direct-acting antiviral therapy compared with patients without HCC, according to results of a retrospective study.

International Liver Congress
April 21,2017
Direct-acting antivirals for hepatitis C not linked to higher liver cancer risk in most studies
People with hepatitis C who take treatment with direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) do not appear to have a higher risk of developing liver cancer compared to those treated with interferon, and the seemingly higher rates seen in some studies are attributable to risk factors such as older age and more advanced liver disease, according to a set of studies presented on Thursday at the International Liver Congress in Amsterdam. The congress is the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL).

April 20, 2017
#ILC 2017: Is direct-acting antiviral therapy for Hepatitis C associated with an increased risk of liver cancer? The debate continues
Eight studies being presented at The International Liver Congress™ 2017 demonstrate contrasting evidence on the potential link between direct-acting antiviral treatment for Hepatitis C and liver cancer

Commentary on this study
Hepatitis C Patients At No Elevated Risk of Developing HCC Following DAA Compared To Interferon
Patients were at no elevated risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after achieving sustained virologic response (SVR) following treatment with direct-acting antiviral therapy (DAA) for hepatitis C compared to interferon therapy, according to results of a meta-analysis reported at the 2017 International Liver Congress (ILC).

Timing of DAA therapy and HCC response may impact recurrence rate
April 20, 2017
AMSTERDAM — Unexpectedly high hepatocellular carcinoma recurrence rates were reported among patients who achieved sustained virologic response after receiving direct-acting antiviral therapy, according to data presented at the International Liver Congress.
“This update further supports our findings about an unexpected high recurrence rate associated in time with DAA, but also exposes a more aggressive pattern of recurrence and faster tumor evolution,” Maria Reig, MD, of the Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer Group, Liver Unit, Hospital Clinic Barcelona, at the University of Barcelona, said in her presentation.

Liver International
April 20, 2017
Download PDF - Full Text
Direct-acting antiviral therapy decreases hepatocellular carcinoma recurrence rate in cirrhotic patients with chronic hepatitis C
Arrival of direct-acting antiviral (DAA) agents against hepatitis C virus (HCV) with high-sustained virological response (SVR) rates and very few side effects has drastically changed the management of HCV infection. The impact of DAA exposure on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) recurrence after a first remission in patients with advanced fibrosis remains to be clarified

Editorial - Healio
April 20, 2017
HCC After DAAs Requires More Study, but no Cause for Withheld Treatment
HCV Next, April 2017
As we continue to see the success of direct-acting antiviral therapy in treating hepatitis C virus, we must be aware of any potential complications from the underlying liver disease after successful treatment, especially hepatocellular carcinoma.

March 15, 2017
Full Text - Download PDF
Hepatitis C-related hepatocellular carcinoma in the era of new generation antivirals
Abstract
Hepatitis C virus infection is a major cause of hepatocellular carcinoma worldwide. Interferon has been the major antiviral treatment, yielding viral clearance in approximately half of patients. New direct-acting antivirals substantially improved the cure rate to above 90%. However, access to therapies remains limited due to the high costs and under-diagnosis of infection in specific subpopulations, e.g., baby boomers, inmates, and injection drug users, and therefore, hepatocellular carcinoma incidence is predicted to increase in the next decades even in high-resource countries. Moreover, cancer risk persists even after 10 years of viral cure, and thus a clinical strategy for its monitoring is urgently needed. Several risk-predictive host factors, e.g., advanced liver fibrosis, older age, accompanying metabolic diseases such as diabetes, persisting hepatic inflammation, and elevated alpha-fetoprotein, as well as viral factors, e.g., core protein variants and genotype 3, have been reported. Indeed, a molecular signature in the liver has been associated with cancer risk even after viral cure. Direct-acting antivirals may affect cancer development and recurrence, which needs to be determined in further investigation.
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Feb 27, 2017
People with HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) co-infection who are successfully treated for hepatitis C using interferon-free direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy do not appear to have an increased likelihood of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), according to a study presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2017) this month in Seattle.

Accepted Manuscript
Gastroenterology Accepted Date: 23 January 2017
Genome-wide Association Study Identifies TLL1 Variant Associated With Development of Hepatocellular Carcinoma After Eradication of Hepatitis C Virus Infection

Media Coverage of this Article
Feb 22, 2017
Genetic variant linked to risk of liver cancer after hep C eradication
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the tolloid-like 1 (TLL1) gene is associated with the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after eradication of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, researchers from Japan report.
“When we constructed different models for predicting HCC in patients with mild as opposed to advanced hepatic fibrosis by combining this TLL1 variant with other distinct risk factors, these proposed models including TLL1 variant could be useful for predicting the occurrence of HCC after achieving sustained virological response (SVR) in the clinical practice,” Dr. Yasuhito Tanaka from Nagoya City University Graduate School of Medical Sciences told Reuters Health by email.
Continue reading...

Feb 8, 2017
High Rates of Hepatocellular Carcinoma After Hepatitis C Treatment
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Patients treated with direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy for hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related cirrhosis appear to have high rates of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

"If these findings are confirmed from other centers, studies are suggested to examine mechanisms of these findings," Dr. Ashwani Singal from University of Alabama at Birmingham told Reuters Health by email.

Some studies have shown unexpectedly high HCC recurrence rates after DAA therapy, whereas others have shown no such association.

Dr. Singal and colleagues examined the occurrence of de novo HCC in their retrospective study of 66 patients with HCV-related cirrhosis who received DAA between 2015 and 2016.

Typically, patients with HCV cirrhosis have an HCC incidence of 3%-5% per year, the researchers say.

But six of these patients (9.1%) developed HCC during or within six months after treatment, and two additional patients (3%) developed indeterminate liver lesions, according to their letter online February 1st in Gastroenterology.

They note that another study showed a reduced risk of HCC occurrence among DAA-treated patients who achieved sustained viral responses (SVR) versus those not achieving SVR, so they suggest prospective multicenter studies to confirm these findings.

"Be aware of this potential issue and consider more intensive HCC surveillance of HCV cirrhotics during and after HCV therapy," Dr. Singal concluded.

Dr. Gaetano Serviddio from University of Foggia, Italy, who has reported on the outcomes of DAA therapy, told Reuters Health by email, "DAAs have completely changed the prognosis of chronic hepatitis C patients who have a unique possibility to be cured definitively. To discover that such drugs have some tumor risks is particularly terrible. In any case, the number of events is small, and the data are not enough to support the hypothesis that the risk is directly related to the drugs."

"DAAs are safe and powerful drugs; millions of lives will be saved with such drugs," he said. "Studies should be supported to completely define patients at risk of HCC recurrence."
SOURCE: http://bit.ly/2lmDbXa
Gastroenterol 2017.

January 2017
In Press, Corrected Proof
Digestive and Liver Disease
Available online 21 January 2017
HCV clearance by direct antiviral therapy and occurrence/recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma: A “true-or-false game”
Three years ago, the new direct antiviral therapies (DAAs) were approved for HCV treatment and the scenario completely changed. The share of patients in whom eradication is obtained raised to over 90% [7], the limits in the stage of the disease that can be treated disappeared, but solid data on the long-term outcome of cirrhotics treated with these new drugs are lacking.

A totally unexpected, intriguing and somehow hard-to-believe report of an increased incidence of HCC with rapid recurrence after HCV eradication with DAAs was first presented at the 2016 EASL meeting and then published in the Journal of Hepatology.....
Continue to full text article...

2016
AASLD 2016 and International Liver Congress 2016
Two studies presented at The Liver Meeting® 2016, and research presented in April at the International Liver Congress 2016.

Patients With HCV Who Treated With Interferon-based Therapy  
We begin with a study presented at AASLD 2016; The impact of sustained virological response to HCV infection on long term risk of hepatocellular carcinoma: the BC Hepatitis Testers Cohort, that suggested patients achieving SVR were still at risk for hepatocellular carcinoma, more specifically older patients and those with cirrhosis, commentary on the study is available over at Healio; SVR post–interferon-based therapy reduces, not eliminates risk for HCC, below is a summary of the study followed by slides @ NATAP 

Liver cancer risk reduced in patients cured of HCV
A large study found that the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma was reduced by 80% in people cured of HCV compared to those who were not cured.

This was a study of the entire population of people treated for HCV in British Columbia province, Canada, between 1990 and 2013. The study identified 8147 people treated with interferon-based regimens, 57% of whom were cured. Treated individuals were followed for a median of 5.6 years.

The liver cancer incidence was highest among those with cirrhosis who did not achieve a SVR (21 cases per 1000 patient-years of follow-up). In comparison, the liver cancer incidence was 6.4 per 1000 patient-years in those with cirrhosis who achieved SVR, 7.2 in those without cirrhosis who did not achieve SVR12 and 1.1 per 1000 patient-years in those without cirrhosis who achieved SVR12.

In a multivariable analysis liver cancer was associated with cirrhosis, age over 50 years, genotype three infection versus genotype one, alcohol consumption and being male in those who were not cured. In those who were cured of hepatitis C, only cirrhosis, age over 50 and being male were associated with an increased risk of liver cancer.

The researchers concluded that although curing HCV greatly reduces the risk of developing liver cancer, it does not eliminate the risk entirely. Older people and those with cirrhosis are at higher risk than others, underlining the importance of early diagnosis and treatment.

Reference
The impact of sustained virological response to HCV infection on long term risk of hepatocellular carcinoma: the BC Hepatitis Testers Cohort. Janjua NZ et al. The 67th Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, Boston 2016. Abstract 175
Summary Source - https://www.basl.org.uk/

Review Slides

Patients With HCV Who Treated With Oral DAAs
In a prospective study presented at the 2016 AASLD; Incidence and pattern of "de novo" hepatocellular carcinoma in HCV patients treated with oral DAAs, reported that treatment with direct-acting antiviral therapy did not increase the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with HCV, but patients with advanced liver disease should continue to be monitored for liver cancer after treatment, here is the AASLD press release, followed by slides @ NATAP.

AASLD Press Release;
AASLD 2016 - Is There an Increased Risk of Cancer After Taking Direct-Acting Antiviral Medication?
BOSTON, Nov. 11, 2016
A new study presented this week at The Liver Meeting® — held by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases — found patients with hepatitis C who take direct-acting antiviral medication are at no higher risk for developing liver cancer than those who do not take the medication. However, they might be at an increased for more aggressive, infiltrative patterns of cancer, should they develop it.

"Data on clinical outcomes in cirrhotic patients with hepatitis C treated with direct-acting antiviral agents (DAAs) are still scanty and somehow controversial, and this is particularly true for development of a liver cancer, one of the most frequent and deadly complications of the disease," says Alfredo Alberti; professor of gastroenterology at University of Padova in Padova, Italy, and lead investigator in the study.

Recent studies have suggested the possibility of increased risk of developing liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma, or HCC) during and after DAA treatment in patients with hepatitis C (HCV). Dr. Alberti's team recently looked at the incidence of new cases of liver cancer among 3,075 HCV patients with advanced liver disease who were treated with DAAs. Almost 70 percent of the patients studied were men, and nearly 86 percent had cirrhosis (scarring of the liver). HCV genotypes one through four were all represented in the study, and patients with a past history of liver cancer were excluded.

All participants were treated with oral DAA therapy and monitored monthly. At the time of Dr. Alberti's team's analysis, patients had an average follow up of nearly 305 days from the time they started DAA therapy. During this period, the researchers found 41 patients had developed liver cancer, and the overall incidence (per 100 patient years) was 1.64.

Dr. Alberti's team further noted an incidence rate of 0.23 in patients without cirrhosis and of 1.93 in those with cirrhosis (1.93 for men and 1.94 for women). Incidence rates varied among HCV genotypes as well, with HCV-1 at the low end (1.70) and HCV-3 at the high end (2.44). Finally, cirrhotic patients with a Child-Pugh score of 'A' had an incidence rate of 1.64 and those with more advanced disease and a score of 'B' had a rate of 2.92.

"These rate incidences were not significantly different from those observed in historical control cohorts of similar patients from the same geographic area, not receiving antiviral therapy, indicating that the risk of developing HCC is not increased by oral DAAs, being closely dependent on stage of disease as in untreated cases," says Dr. Alberti.

Liver cancer was diagnosed four weeks after starting DAA therapy in three patients, at week eight in three patients, week 12 in six patients, between week 12 and 24 in thirteen patients, and after treatment ended in sixteen patients. Fifty percent of patients who developed liver cancer developed a single nodular cancer with a typical vascular pattern, while 50 percent had a more aggressive pattern. Finally, 28 out of the 41 patients who developed cancer were successfully cured of HCV (reaching a sustained virological response at 12 weeks), while the remaining 13 relapsed.

In different analyses of the data, Dr. Alberti's team found elevated liver enzymes and low platelet count to be associated with liver cancer risk, while gender, age, HCV genotype and DAA regimen were not. The best baseline predictor of liver cancer risk was APRI scores (which calculate scarring in the liver). The researchers find the risk of developing liver cancer increased linearly by 10 percent at each one-point increase in APRI value.

"The results of this study, while confirming that DAAs treatment doesn't increase the overall risk of HCC, indicate that there is no pharmacological prevention of HCC even with successful antiviral therapy, at least during the first six to 12 months after initiation of treatment when microscopic and therefore initially invisible HCC foci might even be boosted in their growth as consequence of the profound immunological and molecular changes in the liver microenvironment following abrupt cessation of HCV replication," explains Dr. Alberti. "Therefore, it is mandatory that patients treated with DAAs with advanced liver disease should continue to be monitored for HCC."

This release contains updated data. Dr. Alberti will present these findings at AASLD's press conference in Room 313 at John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in Boston on Saturday, November 12 at 4pm. The study entitled "Incidence and pattern of "de novo" hepatocellular carcinoma in HCV patients treated with oral DAAs" will be presented by Antonietta Romano, MD in Ballroom A on Sunday, November 13 at 10am. The corresponding abstract (number 19) can be found in the journal, Hepatology – Special Issue: The 67th Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases: The Liver Meeting 2016.

View the slides @ NATAP Reported by Jules Levin
"Incidence and pattern of "de novo" hepatocellular carcinoma in HCV patients treated with oral DAAs"
Another look at both studies;  Incidence and pattern of `de novo` hepatocellular carcinoma in HCV patients treated with oral DAAs and The impact of sustained virological response to HCV infection on long term risk of hepatocellular carcinoma: the BC Hepatitis Testers Cohort.

Liver cancer risk reduced after hepatitis C treatment, but vigilance needed for aggressive cancers in months after treatment
Keith Alcorn
People who are cured of hepatitis C after a course of direct-acting antiviral treatment do not have a higher risk of developing liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma), and probably have a reduced risk, studies from Italy and Canada presented at The Liver Meeting this week in Boston have shown. However, Italian researchers also found that those people who did develop liver cancer during or shortly after antiviral treatment were more likely to develop an aggressive form of liver cancer, perhaps because of changes in immune surveillance in the liver as a result of treatment.

Patients With HCV And History Of Liver Cancer Who Treated With New Antivirals
As a reference point two studies presented in April at the International Liver Congress 2016 found; patients with a history of hepatocellular carcinoma have the highest risk of developing a tumor after direct-acting antiviral therapy, but new diagnoses were also reported. ​​Read the report; Liver Cancer Found in Hepatitis C Patients on New Antivirals provided below, or over at Medscape.

Liver Cancer Found in Hepatitis C Patients on New Antivirals
Kate Johnson
April 15, 2016
BARCELONA, Spain — In a surprising number of patients with hepatitis C and cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma develops within weeks of starting treatment with direct-acting antivirals, new research suggests.

"I do not think that direct-acting antivirals are directly responsible," said lead investigator Stefano Brillanti, MD, from the University of Bologna, Italy.

"The hypothesis is that immune surveillance may be reduced too rapidly," he told Medscape Medical News. "You have an immediate drop in viremia, but also attenuation of inflammation. I think inflammation is a bad thing in terms of hepatitis progression, but it may be a good thing in terms of controlling cancer."

The study by Dr Brillanti's team, presented here at the International Liver Congress 2016, suggests that patients with hepatitis C should be closely monitored after treatment with direct-acting antivirals. Two days earlier, a study conducted by a team from the University of Barcelona in Spain suggested the same thing (J Hepatol. Published online April 12, 2016).

Both studies indicate that patients with a history of hepatocellular carcinoma have the highest risk of developing a tumor after direct-acting antiviral therapy, but new diagnoses were also reported.

The EMA has extended the scope of its review of the six direct-acting antivirals approved for use in the European Union for the treatment of chronic hepatitis  C infection to include the risk for early liver cancer recurrence, the agency reported.

Tumor Risk
"Patients with previous hepatocellular carcinoma are, of course, at risk of recurrence anyway," Dr Brillanti said. "A 30% rate over 3 years from initial surgery or ablation is normal. What was surprising to us was that we were observing 4 cm lesions after 12 weeks."

The retrospective cohort study involved 344 consecutive patients with hepatitis C and cirrhosis who were treated with one or two direct-acting antivirals and followed for 24 weeks after therapy. Median age was 63 years.
In this cohort, 237 patients were infected with hepatitis C genotype 1, 191 had received previous antiviral treatment, and 59 had been successfully treated for hepatocellular carcinoma.

Contrast-enhanced ultrasonography and CT scans or MRIs were performed at baseline to exclude active hepatocellular carcinoma, and then again 12 and 24 weeks after treatment.
During the follow-up period, 26 of the 344 patients (7.6%) were diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma. This included 17 of the 59 patients previously treated for hepatocellular carcinoma, and nine of the 285 patients (3.2%) with no history of carcinoma.

There was no association between recurrence and hepatitis C genotype, direct-acting antiviral regimen, or treatment response for patients who did not develop hepatocellular carcinoma or for those who did. The sustained viral response rate at 12 weeks was 89% in the two groups.
For patients with a history of hepatocellular carcinoma, those who developed a recurrence were significantly younger than those who did not (56 vs 73 years), were more frequently treatment-experienced (88.2% vs 61.9%), and had more advanced liver fibrosis at baseline.

More patients who developed hepatocellular carcinoma during the follow-up period, regardless of history, had advanced cirrhosis than those who did not, indicated by a Child-Pugh class B score (26.9% vs 10.1%; P =.02). They also had more liver stiffness, indicated by a measure above 21.3 Kpa (61.5% vs 31.8%; P = .005), and fewer platelets at baseline (102.3 vs 124.4 × 1000/mm³; P = .02).

Second Study
In the Spanish study, all 58 hepatitis C patients had a history of hepatocellular carcinoma (with complete radiologic response), and all but three were cirrhotic at the start of direct-acting antiviral therapy. After a median follow-up of 5.7 months, the rate of tumor recurrence was 27.6%, with a median time to recurrence of 3.5 months. The sustained viral response rate at 12 weeks was 97.5%.

In their publication, the Spanish authors note that these findings "raise a concern about the benefits" of direct-acting antiviral therapy in the subgroup of hepatitis C patients with a history of hepatocellular carcinoma. Although the therapies "offer a major hope for current and future patients, we may face a drawback that may change these predictions in specific groups of patients," they point out.

Dr Brillanti said he is less concerned. "Clones of the hepatocellular carcinoma were present before the therapy," he pointed out, suggesting that direct-acting antivirals simply accelerated their inevitable progression. Either way, he said, an increased risk for hepatocellular carcinoma should not deter clinicians or patients from pursuing treatment with direct-acting antivirals when it is needed.

"This is a different cancer than elsewhere in oncology — it is a cancer within an advanced chronic disease — so the prognosis, the life expectancy, is related not only to the liver cancer but also to the liver disease and liver function," he explained. "If you don't treat these patients and ameliorate their liver function, and if hepatocellular carcinoma occurs, you have no chance of curing them. But if you ameliorate liver function and they develop hepatocellular carcinoma, you can cure it better because their improved liver function will allow an ablation."

This finding is "quite striking and unexpected, but we have to be cautious," said Laurent Castera, MD, PhD, from Hôpital Beaujon in Clichy, France, who is vice-secretary of the European Association for the Study of the Liver, and was not involved with the research.

"It is potentially worrying, but these are retrospective studies, with possible referral bias, and no long-term follow-up," he told Medscape Medical News.

Dr Brillanti reports receiving research grants from Gilead Sciences and being on the advisory board for Janssen and Gilead Sciences. Dr Castera reports serving on the speaker's bureau for Echosens.
International Liver Congress (ILC) 2016: Abstract LBP506. Presented April 14, 2016.
Source - Medscape

Feb 2017
Of Interest - In The News
Risk of liver cancer low in patients with cirrhosis, study finds
01 Feb 2017
The results of a study by researchers at The University of Nottingham suggest that the risk of liver cancer in patients with cirrhosis may be much lower than previously thought.

Liver cancer – or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) – is one of the most serious complications of cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver, caused by long-term liver damage.

However, an analysis of health records, published in the academic journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, found that the 10-year incidence of HCC in UK patients with cirrhosis is actually only four per cent, or lower.

Joe West, Professor of Epidemiology in the University’s School of Medicine, led the study and believes that the results could better inform doctors on how best to focus resources for the benefit of patients with liver damage.

He said: “This very low incidence of HCC occurrence in people with cirrhosis caused by alcohol or of unknown origin suggests that surveillance for HCC among these groups is likely to benefit patients little.

“As surveillance incurs substantial cost, it is therefore unlikely to represent value for money for the NHS. There may well be other ways of spending this money that would benefit patients far more.”

Cirrhosis is caused by long-term damage to the liver, which leads to a build-up of scar tissue which replaces healthy tissue and eventually can result in liver failure.

The researchers identified more than 3,000 patients with cirrhosis of the liver using the UK’s General Practice Research Database between 1987 and 2006 and then cross-referenced this information with diagnoses of HCC on linked national cancer registries.

The study found that only 1.2 per cent of patients with alcoholic cirrhosis and 1.1 per cent of patients with cirrhosis of unknown cause will develop HCC within a decade. The highest 10-year incidence of HCC was among those with cirrhosis due to chronic viral hepatitis (four per cent).
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/news/pressreleases/2017/january/risk-of-liver-cancer-low-in-patients-with-cirrhosis-study-finds.aspx

March 2017
Antiviral medication successful for treating HCV in hepatocellular carcinoma

Hepatocellular Carcinoma Decreases the Chance of Successful Hepatitis C Virus Therapy with Direct-Acting Antivirals
The new medications for hepatitis C have excellent cure rates. However, our study shows that in patients with both liver cancer and hepatitis C, they do not achieve these cure rates. Patients with liver cancer are almost 6 times more likely to fail hepatitis C treatment than patients without liver cancer

AGA Institute Clinical Practice Update: Care of Patients Who Have Achieved a Sustained Virologic Response (SVR) Following Antiviral Therapy for Chronic Hepatitis C Infection
Ira M. Jacobson M.D., Joseph K. Lim, M.D., and Michael W. Fried, M.D.
ACCEPTED MANUSCRIPT
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2017.03.018

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Abstract
Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is well-recognized as a common blood borne infection with global public health impact, affecting 3 to 5 million persons in the U.S. and over 170 million persons worldwide. Chronic HCV infection is associated with significant morbidity and mortality due to complications of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Current therapies with all-oral directly acting antiviral agents (DAAs) are associated with high rates of sustained virologic response (SVR), generally exceeding 90%. SVR is associated with a reduced risk of liver cirrhosis, hepatic decompensation, need for liver transplantation, and both liver-related and all-cause mortality. However, a subset of patients who achieve SVR will remain at long-term risk for progression to cirrhosis, liver failure, HCC, and liver-related mortality. Limited evidence is available to guide clinicians on which post-SVR patients should be monitored versus discharged, how to monitor and with which tests, how frequently should monitoring occur, and for how long. In this clinical practice update, available evidence and expert opinion are used to generate best practice recommendations on the care of patients with chronic HCV who have achieved SVR.

Index
Assessment of HCV RNA after SVR12 has been attained
With the initiation of trials of DAA regimens, initially in combination with interferon and later without it, the attainment of SVR 12 weeks after completion of treatment replaced SVR24 as the primary endpoint, defined as undetectable HCV RNA on a highly sensitive PCR assay (lower limit of detection <12 IU/mL). This transition was based upon the rarity of relapse after follow up week 12, and it helped move the field ahead by shortening the intervals between successive trials in development programs (22). It has become apparent that late relapse beyond this time point is no more common, and perhaps less so, than it was after interferon-based therapy
Ongoing surveillance for hepatocellular carcinoma after SVR Is HCC risk after SVR exclusive to patients with advanced fibrosis and cirrhosis?
Can HCC surveillance ever be discontinued?
How should screening for, and management of, varices be affected by SVR?
Should patients be routinely monitored for regression of advanced fibrosis or
cirrhosis?
Recurrent HCC After SVR
Reinfection
Lifestyle Measures
Conclusions
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