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Transplant Proc. 2003 Aug;35(5):1745-7.

Outcome of kidney transplant in chronic hepatitis C virus patients: effect of pretransplantation interferon-alpha2b monotherapy.

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Service of Nephrology, Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocío, Sevilla, Spain.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection represents an important problem for hemodialysis patients especially following renal transplantation. We assessed the outcome of HCV-positive patients undergoing renal transplantation after treatment during the pretransplant period with alpha-interferon 2b (alpha-IFN2b). Data from all HCV-infected patients (n=38) undergoing renal transplantation from a cadaveric donor between January 1997 and June 2002 were retrospectively reviewed. Viral clearance was achieved in 7 of 13 patients receiving alpha-IFN2b monotherapy during the pretransplant period. Controls were HCV-negative renal transplantation recipients operated during the same period (n=273). HCV-positive compared to HCV-negative patients showed no differences in age, gender, underlying disease, donor type, or immunosuppressive regimen, but there were significant differences (P<.001) in the mean (+/-SD) time on dialysis (155+/-70 versus 43+/-47 months), retransplant incidence (26% versus 5%), immunization rate as assessed by panel reactive antibodies (PRA) peak >50% (55% versus 18%), or 1-year survival of recipients (88% versus 97%) and of grafts (76% versus 89%). In contrast, all seven HCV RNA-negative patients who were before transplantation survived to the end of follow up with functioning grafts in six subjects and remained with normal liver function and clearance of HCV RNA. We conclude that kidney transplantation in HCV-positive compared with HCV-negative patients shows lower recipient and graft survival rates, possibly due to the higher incidence of risk factors, such as duration of hemodialysis, higher retransplantation rate, or hyperimmunization. Responders to pretransplantation IFN therapy show an excellent prognosis of liver function and overall outcome close to HCV-negative renal transplant recipients.

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