ORIGINAL PAPERS
Pegylated Interferon α-2a and Ribavirin Combination Therapy in HCV Liver Transplant Recipients. Experience of 7 Cases

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Speranža Iacob1, Liana Gheorghe1, Doina Hrehoret2, Gabriel Becheanu1, Vlad Herlea2, Irinel Popescu2

1) Center of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Fundeni Clinical Institute, Bucharest, Romania,
2) Center of General Surgery and Liver Transplantation, Fundeni Clinical Institute, Bucharest, Romania

Abstract

Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) related cirrhosis represents the leading indication for liver transplantation (LT) worldwide and HCV reinfection is the rule among transplant recipients. Combination therapy with interferon and ribavirin is the treatment of choice for established recurrent hepatitis C.

Aim: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of the combination of pegylated interferon a-2a and ribavirin in LT recipients with histological recurrence of hepatitis C. Methods: Seven LT recipients with chronic hepatitis C recurrence were treated with peginterferon a-2a with an initial intended dose of 180 µg/week and an intended dose of ribavirin 800-1000 mg/day for at least 12 months and followed-up for at least 24 weeks.

Results: Early virological response rate was 57.1%. Three patients (42.8%) had end of treatment virological response and all had also sustained viral response (SVR). Five patients had end of treatment biological response, out of which 4 had also sustained biochemical response. Three patients had both SVR and sustained biochemical response. Four patients had end of treatment histological response, out of which 3 patients had also SVR. Cytopenia was the most common adverse event: anemia (57.1%), leucopenia/neutropenia (71.4%), thrombocytopenia (42.8%).

Conclusion: Combination of pegylated interferon and ribavirin can be safely and successfully used in liver transplant recipients.

Key words

Liver transplantation - recurrent hepatitis C - antiviral therapy