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Liver Int. 2005 Feb;25(1):85-90.

Decreased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with chronic hepatitis C whose serum alanine aminotransferase levels became less than twice the upper limit of normal following interferon therapy.

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Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, Nihon University School of Medicine, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo 173-8610, Japan.



The incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in C-viral chronic hepatitis (CH) and liver cirrhosis (LC) patients after interferon (IFN) therapy was evaluated according to alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels.


Two hundred sixty-nine patients with C-viral CH and LC were treated with natural IFN-alpha. The efficacy of IFN therapy was evaluated based on virologic response and ALT levels using the following groups: virologic-sustained responders (VSR); biochemical-sustained responders (BSR); partial responders (PR), which consisted of BSR patients whose serum ALT levels later relapsed; non-responders (NR)1, which included patients with serum ALT levels that were usually less than 80 IU/l; and NR2, NR with ALT levels persistently more than 80 IU/l.


Of the 269 patients, 22 (8.2%) developed HCC after IFN therapy. The incidence of HCC (%/patient/year) was 0.78%, 0%, 0%, 0.17%, 4.68% in VSR, BR, PR, NR1, NR2, respectively. Multivariate analysis revealed that an increase in ALT levels to more than 80 IU/l is an important risk factor for the occurrence of HCC.


We concluded that the patients with ALT levels less than twice the upper limit of normal after IFN therapy have a reduced risk of progression to HCC from C-viral chronic liver disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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