Clinical outcomes following DAA therapy in patients with HCV-related cirrhosis depend on disease severity

Lisette A.P. Krassenburg, Raoel Maan, Alnoor Ramji, Michael P. Manns, Markus Cornberg, Heiner Wedemeyer, Robert J. de Knegt, Bettina E. Hansen, Harry L.A. Janssen, Robert A. de Man, Jordan J. Feld, Adriaan J. van der Meer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background & Aims: HCV-infected patients with cirrhosis achieve high sustained virological response (SVR) rates with direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) even after hepatic decompensation. We aimed to assess the clinical outcome following DAAs among patients with compensated and decompensated cirrhosis in relation to SVR and changes in model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) score. Methods: Consecutive DAA-treated chronic HCV-infected patients with cirrhosis from 4 hepatology clinics were included. The primary endpoint in survival analyses was clinical disease progression, defined as liver failure, hepatocellular carcinoma, liver transplantation or death. Results: In total, 868 patients were included with a median age of 59 (IQR 54–65) years; 719 (83%) with Child-Pugh A cirrhosis and 149 (17%) with Child-Pugh B/C cirrhosis. SVR was attained by 647 (90%) Child-Pugh A patients and 120 (81%) Child-Pugh B/C patients. During a median follow-up of 28 (IQR 20–36) months, 102 (14%) Child-Pugh A patients and 96 (64%) Child-Pugh B/C patients experienced clinical disease progression. SVR was independently associated with an improved event-free survival in patients with Child-Pugh A cirrhosis (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 0.47; 95% CI 0.27–0.82, p = 0.007), but not in patients with Child-Pugh B/C cirrhosis (adjusted HR 1.23; 95% CI 0.67–2.26; p = 0.51). Twelve weeks post-DAAs, 28 (19%) patients with Child-Pugh B/C cirrhosis had ≥2-point MELD decline, but their 2-year event-free survival did not differ from those with a stable MELD (47.9%; 95% CI 28.7–67.1 vs. 48.9%; 95% CI 38.1–59.7, respectively, p = 0.99). Conclusions: Among patients with chronic HCV infection, DAA-induced SVR was associated with a reduced risk of clinical disease progression in patients with Child-Pugh A cirrhosis but not in patients with Child-Pugh B/C cirrhosis. In Child-Pugh B/C cirrhosis, a ≥2-point MELD decline did not translate into improved clinical outcome. Lay summary: Chronic HCV infection can be cured with antiviral therapy. In this study, we evaluated the long-term effects of antiviral therapy on liver-related complications in patients with cirrhosis. Our results suggest that patients with compensated cirrhosis who were cured of their HCV infection have a lower rate of complications. In contrast, the rate of complications was not related to virological cure among those with decompensated cirrhosis. While these patients seem to remain in need of liver transplantation, antiviral therapy may lower their priority on the liver transplantation waiting list.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1053-1063
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Hepatology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021

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Publisher Copyright: © 2020 European Association for the Study of the Liver


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