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Transplantation. 2017 May;101(5):1001-1008. doi: 10.1097/TP.0000000000001605.

Cost-Effectiveness of Direct-Acting Antiviral Treatment in Hepatitis C-Infected Liver Transplant Candidates With Compensated Cirrhosis and Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

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1 Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA. 2 Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA. 3 Division of Transplant Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA. 4 Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Transplantation Institute, Loma Linda University Health, Loma Linda, CA.



Hepatitis C virus (HCV)(+) donors represent an effective strategy to increase liver donor availability to HCV-infected recipients. However, many HCV(+) transplant candidates are now receiving treatment with direct-acting anti-viral (DAA) agents that lower the risk of posttransplant HCV recurrence but could make the patient ineligible for HCV(+) livers.


We compared pretransplant DAA treatment versus deferred DAA treatment using a cost-effectiveness decision analysis model to estimate incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (cost per quality-adjusted life year gained) from the societal perspective across a range of HCV(+) liver availability rates. For practical considerations, the population modeled was restricted to well-compensated HCV(+) cirrhotics listed for liver transplantation with hepatocellular carcinoma MELD exception points.


Under base case conditions, the deferred DAA treatment strategy was found to be the "dominant" strategy. That is, it provided superior health outcomes at cost savings compared to the pretransplant DAA treatment strategy. The pretransplant DAA treatment strategy trended towards cost-effectiveness as HCV(+) donor liver availability declined. However, only in 1 scenario that was highly optimized for favorable outcomes in the pretransplant DAA treatment arm (low availability of HCV(+) organs, low cost of DAA treatment, high cost of HCV recurrence) was the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio associated with HCV DAA treatment before transplant less than US $150 000/quality-adjusted life-year gained.


Deferring HCV treatment until after liver transplant and maintaining access to the expanded pool of HCV(+) donors appears to be the most cost-effective strategy for well-compensated HCV-infected cirrhotics listed for liver transplantation with hepatocellular carcinoma, even in geographic areas of relatively low HCV(+) donor availability.

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