Long-term outcome after interferon therapy in elderly patients with chronic hepatitis C.Intervirology. 2007; 50(1):16-23.I
The purpose of this study was to elucidate the long-term outcome after interferon (IFN) therapy in chronic hepatitis C elderly patients.
We studied the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and survival probability after the initiation of IFN therapy in 500 Japanese chronic hepatitis C patients >60 years. The mean age of initiation of IFN was 63 years and the mean follow-up period was 7.4 years. Cox proportional hazard regression analysis was used to evaluate the long-term outcome after initiation of IFN therapy. Sustained virological response (SVR) was defined as negative HCV-RNA by RT-nested PCR 6 months after the completion of long-term IFN therapy. Non-response (NR) was applied to patients who did not show SVR. Hepatic fibrosis was defined as the fibrosis score (score 0-4) according to Knodell et al.
140 patients (28%) had an SVR and 360 patients (72%) had an NR. 71 of 500 patients developed HCC during follow-up. The cumulative incidence of HCC was 9.6% at the 5th year, 17.4% at the 10th year, and 31.3% at the 15th year. HCC developed with significance when: (1) HCV was not cleared after IFN therapy (p < 0.0001), (2) sex was male (p < 0.0001), and (3) staging of liver fibrosis was >2 (p = 0.008). 53 of the patients died. The cumulative survival probability was 95.7% at the 5th year, 86.4% at the 10th year, and 78% at the 15th year. Patients achieved a long survival with significance when: (1) staging of liver fibrosis was 1 (p < 0.0001), (2) HCV was cleared after IFN therapy (p = 0.034), and (3) sex was female (p = 0.015).
Chronic hepatitis C patients with clearance of HCV after IFN therapy had a significantly reduced risk of HCC appearance and achieved prolonged survival even if they are > or =60 years.