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J Viral Hepat. 2004 Nov;11(6):536-42.

Treatment of patients with HCV infection with or without liver biopsy.

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  • 1Division of Gastroenterology, Hospital Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, IRCCS, San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy. angelo.andriulli@operapadrepio.it

Abstract

Expert consensus recommends liver biopsy before therapy for chronic hepatitis C. A cost effectiveness analysis suggested that the best strategy in the management of patients was to treat without biopsy. We compared therapy in patients who did, or did not undergo biopsy. Hepatitis C virus (HCV)-positive patients (78) who did not agree to (n = 57) or with contraindications to liver biopsy (n = 21) (group A) were matched for age, sex and genotype with those who consented (group B). Before therapy (interferon/ribavirin for 12 months), a clinical diagnosis of chronic hepatitis, on the basis of standard biochemical and ultrasonographic parameters. The two groups showed similar baseline characteristics. A noninvasive, diagnosis of chronic hepatitis was made in 75.6% of group A, and in 83.3% of group B (P = 0.26). Concordance between clinical and histological diagnosis in group B amounted to 91%. End-of-therapy virological response was 52.6% in group A, and 57.7% in group B (P = 0.63). Sustained virological response was 41.0% [95% confidence interval (CI) 30.1-51.9] and 43.6% (95% CI 32.6-54.6) in the two groups (P = 0.87). Predictors of sustained response were noninvasive diagnosis of chronic hepatitis (P = 0.006), lack of portal hypertension (P = 0.037), platelets >10(5)/mm3 (P = 0.007), prothrombin >70% (P = 0.02), and genotype 2 or 3 (P < 0.0001). At multivariate analysis, genotype (P < 0.0001) and platelets (P = 0.004) maintained their predictive power. In most patients with HCV infection, virological clearance after therapy can be achieved irrespective of whatever a liver biopsy might show.

PMID:
15500554
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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