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Transplantation. 2009 Nov 27;88(10):1214-21. doi: 10.1097/TP.0b013e3181bd783c.

Antiviral treatment of recurrent hepatitis C after liver transplantation: predictors of response and long-term outcome.

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Multi-organ Transplant Program, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.



Efficacy and long-term outcome of antiviral therapy for recurrent hepatitis C after liver transplantation is poorly defined.


This study aimed at assessing the efficacy of antiviral therapy regarding sustained hepatitis C virus (HCV) clearance, liver histology, and patient survival.


We retrospectively reviewed all 446 patients who received a liver allograft at our institution for HCV-related cirrhosis between January 1992 and December 2006. Two hundred thirty-two patients (52%) were eligible for antiviral therapy based on predefined criteria (Metavir stage > or =1 and/or grade > or =2; protocol biopsies). One hundred seventy-two patients (39%) had no contraindication for treatment, received more than or equal to 1 dose of interferon-alpha-based combination therapy, and form the basis of this analysis. Therapy was aimed for 48 weeks; median posttreatment follow-up was 68 months.


The overall sustained virological response (SVR) rate was 50% (genotype 1/4: 40%; genotype 2/3: 76%). SVR was higher on cyclosporine A (CsA) (56%) than on tacrolimus (44%, P=0.05), largely because of a lower relapse rate (6% vs. 19%, P=0.01). In multivariate analysis, genotype 2/3, CsA use, donor age, and pretreatment necroinflammatory activity were independently associated with SVR. SVR significantly improved histology and long-term survival (actuarial 5-year survival 96% vs. 69% in nonresponders, P<0.0001).


Antiviral therapy of recurrent hepatitis C after liver transplantation is able to clear HCV in half the patients, more likely on CsA than on tacrolimus, and markedly improves outcome.

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