Risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in hepatitis C virus cirrhotic patients treated with direct-acting antiviral agents (DAA) is still debating. We investigated it in a large cohort. The cohort comprised 1045 cirrhotic patients who completed treatment with DAA, with a median follow-up of 17.3 months after end of treatment (EOT), including 943 patients without history of HCC and 102 previously treated for HCC. The majority were men (59.9%), with compensated cirrhosis (88.8%), genotype 1b (44.7%). Univariate, multivariate analysis and Kaplan-Meier curves were performed to detect predictors of HCC in patients with and without reduction in alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) during treatment. SVR12 was 95.6%. HCC developed in 95 (9.9%), including 54 of 943 (5.7%) occurrent and 41 of 102 (39%) recurrent tumours. De novo were more often unifocal (P = 0.01) and curable (P = 0.03). AFP decreased from 16.1 ± 36.2 mg/dL (baseline) to 11.4 ± 55 mg/dL (EOT). At univariate analysis, predictors were a previous HCC, older age, higher model for end-stage liver disease, prolonged INR, lower platelets, baseline and EOT AFP, virological failure and no reduction in AFP during treatment. Kaplan-Meier curves showed lower incidence of HCC in patients showing any reduction in AFP (P = 0.001). Those with AFP <6 ng/mL had the lowest risk (P = 0.0002). At logistic regression, platelets (P = 0.009, OR 0.99 CI: 0.99-1.00), previous HCC (P < 0.000 01, OR: 10.76, 95% CI: 5.89-19.34) and no reduction in AFP during treatment (P = 0.0005, OR: 2.98, CI: 1.60-5.54) were independent predictors of HCC. In conclusion, risk of HCC after DAA treatment remains substantial. It is higher among patients with previous HCC, low platelets and without reduction in AFP during treatment.
- Infectious Diseases
- direct-acting antiviral agents
- hepatitis C
- hepatocellular carcinoma