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Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2009 Feb;21(2):225-9. doi: 10.1097/MEG.0b013e32831101b7.

Hepatocellular carcinoma after sustained virologic response in hepatitis C patients without cirrhosis on a pretreatment liver biopsy.

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Gastroenterology Section, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.


Among hepatitis C patients, lack of cirrhosis and sustained virologic response (SVR) reduce the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Japanese studies document multiple cases of HCC among these patients, but only one case has been reported outside of Asia. We identified five patients with hepatitis C in our university-based hepatology practice who developed HCC despite SVR and lack of cirrhosis on their pretreatment liver biopsy. At the time of HCC diagnosis, two remained noncirrhotic, one had clearly progressed to cirrhosis, and two lacked repeat histology. We present these patients in a case series format and discuss several important implications of their cases. Physicians often base screening and treatment decisions on an initial liver biopsy performed years earlier. As fibrosis may advance, and because SVR and lack of cirrhosis do not fully protect against HCC, future study should further evaluate the risk of HCC among hepatitis C patients after sustained virologic response.

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