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J Hepatol. 2004 Apr;40(4):669-74.

Treatment of recurrent hepatitis C after liver transplantation: a pilot study of peginterferon alfa-2b and ribavirin combination.

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Unité de transplantation hépatique-Fédération des Spécialités Digestives, Hôpital Edouard Herriot, 69437 Lyon Cedex 03, France.



After liver transplantation (LT) for HCV-related cirrhosis, recurrence of HCV infection is universal and the risk of progression to cirrhosis is high. The modalities and efficacy of antiviral therapy in this indication are still controversial. We present here the results of a pilot study of a 12-month combination therapy by pegylated alfa 2b-interferon (PEG-IFN) and ribavirin in 20 patients.


Twenty patients entered the study (13 male and 7 female, median age 53.8 years). In 80% of patients, HCV infection was of genotype 1. The delay between LT and antiviral therapy was 28 months. The doses were progressively increased from 0.5 to 1 micro g/kg/week for PEG-IFN and from 400 to 1000-1200 mg/d for ribavirin. Follow-up was based on biochemical (ALT), virological (HCV-RNA) and histological (liver biopsy) examinations.


Four patients (20%) were withdrawn due to adverse effects. In 6 patients the dose of PEG-IFN had to be reduced to 0.5 micro g/kg/week. A reduction in the dose of ribavirin in 13/16 cases was due to the onset of anemia. Histological evidence of mild acute rejection increased the immunosuppressive regimen in 5/20 patients. At the end of the treatment, 75% of the patients had a biochemical response and 55% a virological response. The mean METAVIR score, according to activity and fibrosis, was A1.8 F2.2 before treatment and A0.3 F1.6 at the end of treatment. In 9/20 patients, virological response persisted 6 months after the end of the treatment.


Our results suggest that combination therapy by PEG-IFN and ribavirin may be well tolerated and beneficial during recurrent hepatitis C in liver transplant recipients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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