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Oncology. 2001;61(2):134-42.

Effect of the dose and duration of interferon-alpha therapy on the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma in noncirrhotic patients with a nonsustained response to interferon for chronic hepatitis C.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Ogaki Municipal Hospital, Ogaki, Japan.



We evaluated the effect of dose and duration of treatment with interferon (IFN)-alpha on the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after IFN treatment in patients with chronic hepatitis C.


A total of 291 noncirrhotic patients with chronic hepatitis C without hepatitis B virus coinfection in whom hepatitis C virus (HCV) was not eradicated by IFN-alpha therapy were retrospectively analyzed. The incidence of HCC after IFN therapy was compared according to the total dose or duration of treatment.


Patients were followed up for 6-117 months after the end of IFN treatment. The duration of IFN treatment (< or =24 vs. >24 weeks) had no effect on the incidence of HCC. However, the incidence of HCC was significantly lower in patients who received >500 million units of IFN as a total dose than in patients who received < or =500 million units of IFN (p = 0.0480), and the total dose of IFN (>500 million units) was an independent factor affecting the incidence of HCC (p = 0.0405). In addition, when focusing on patients whose histology was F2 or F3 before IFN treatment, the suppressive effect of the total dose of IFN (>500 million units) was emphasized (p = 0.0049 in generalized Wilcoxon test and p = 0.0178 in multivariate analysis).


Patients with chronic hepatitis C should receive more than 500 million units of IFN when IFN is used to decrease the incidence of subsequent HCC.

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