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J Viral Hepat. 2010 Mar;17(3):185-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2893.2009.01163.x. Epub 2009 Aug 26.

Reduced risk of hepatocellular carcinoma after interferon therapy in aged patients with chronic hepatitis C is limited to sustained virological responders.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Ikeda Municipal Hospital, 3-1-18, Johnan, Ikeda, Osaka 563-8510, Japan.


This study was undertaken to investigate the effect of interferon (IFN) monotherapy on the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in aged-patients with chronic hepatitis C. Seven hundred and twenty-five patients with histologically proven chronic hepatitis C were enrolled in this retrospective cohort study; 531 received IFN monotherapy for 6 months between 1992 and 1995, and 157 were collected as a historical control. The effect of IFN therapy on the development of HCC was compared between the patients with chronic hepatitis C under 60 years old (non-aged group, n = 531) and those 60 and over (aged group, n = 194). A stepwise Cox proportional-hazards regression analysis in the non-aged group revealed that IFN therapy (risk ratio 0.52, 95% CI 0.33-0.81, P = 0.004), older age (P = 0.001), and higher histological stage (P < 0.001) were independent factors associated with the development of HCC. In the aged-group, only higher histological stage (P = 0.002) and male gender (P = 0.011), but not IFN therapy (risk ratio 0.77, 95% CI 0.42-1.40, P = 0.386), were identified as independent risk factors for HCC, although HCC was significantly reduced when sustained virological response (SVR) was obtained (risk ratio 0.23, 95% CI 0.08-0.64, P = 0.005). In conclusion, inhibitory effect of IFN on development of HCC in the patients with chronic hepatitis C aged 60 and over was limited to the patients achieving SVR when treated with 6 months-IFN monotherapy.

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