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J Hepatol. 2002 Aug;37(2):247-52.

Treatment of recurrent hepatitis C in liver transplants: efficacy of a six versus a twelve month course of interferon alfa 2b with ribavirin.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Molinette Hospital, Bramante 88, 10126 Turin, Italy.



Interferon (IFN) with ribavirin combination therapy (CT) was proposed for the treatment of hepatitis C recurring in liver transplants. We assessed the efficacy of two protocols of CT in transplanted patients with recurrent severe hepatitis C virus (HCV) hepatitis.


Fifty-seven patients (68% genotype 1b) were treated with IFN alfa-2b 3 million units three times weekly and oral ribavirin 800mg/die for 6 or 12 months. Study end-points were the end of treatment (ETVR) and the 12-month post-therapy sustained virologic response (SVR; negative HCV-RNA).


ETVR was induced in 9/27 (33%) and in 7/30 patients (23%) treated, respectively, for 6 and 12 months (P=0.4); a SVR was induced in six (22%) of the former and five (17%) of the latter (P=0.4). HCV genotype non-1 patients responded better than genotype 1 (SVR: 43% in genotype non-1 versus 12% in genotype 1, P: 0.02). In ETV responders the hepatitis activity index improved by >2 points in biopsies taken after therapy compared to pre-therapy biopsies. Anemia and leukopenia required reduction of therapy in 51% of the patients.


CT is efficacious in controlling HCV disease in about 20% of transplants with recurrent hepatitis C. Six months of therapy are as efficacious as 12 months.

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