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Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2004 Nov;16(11):1219-27.

Histological response in patients treated by interferon plus ribavirin for hepatitis C virus-related severe fibrosis.

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  • 1Services d'Hépato-Gastroentérologie, Hôtel-Dieu, Clermont-Ferrand, France.



Studies of viral hepatitis C have suggested that fibrosis can regress, at least in patients with sustained virological response. A recent study suggested that cirrhosis was reversible in sustained and non-virological responders.


To study fibrosis progression rate and cirrhosis reversion in patients treated for severe fibrosis with interferon or interferon + ribavirin.


Ninety-nine patients were treated with interferon + ribavirin and 64 with interferon. The Metavir fibrosis score and the semiquantitative fibrosis score (SFS) were used to assess fibrosis.


In sustained responders, fibrosis progression rate decreased from 0.26 Metavir unit (interquartile range: 0.19-0.34) to -0.67 (-0.67 to 0) (P < 0.0001) and from 0.81 SFS unit (0.48-1.13) to -1.33 (-3.67 to 0) (P < 0.0001). In non-responders, fibrosis progression rate decreased from 0.25 Metavir unit (0.17-0.33) before treatment to 0 (0-0) during treatment (P = 0.002) and from 0.63 SFS unit (0.49-1.12) to 0 (-2.67-1.33) (P = 0.18). Six out of 18 (33%) sustained virological responders and four of 43 (9%) non-responders regressed from cirrhosis (F4) to severe fibrosis (F3) (P = 0.058). No patient with cirrhosis had a decrease of Metavir fibrosis score of 2 points.


Interferon can slow fibrosis progression in sustained virological responders with severe fibrosis. In patients with a non-virological response and treated for 12 months the fibrosis progression rate was nil, meaning that only fibrosis stabilization could be obtained in these patients. Then, longer treatment duration (3-4 years) could be evaluated in non-virological responders.

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