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REVIEW

Hepatocellular Carcinoma Occurrence and Recurrence after Antiviral Treatment in HCV-Related Cirrhosis. Are Outcomes Different after Direct Antiviral Agents? A Review
Zeno Spârchez1,2, Tudor Mocan2

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1) 3rd Medical Department, Iuliu Haţieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy,
2) Institute for Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15403/jgld.2014.1121.264.hcv

ABSTRACT
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is one of the major causes of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) worldwide. In the last decades, several studies have showed a lower rate of HCC occurrence or recurrence in patients with HCV-related cirrhosis after interferon-based antiviral therapies compared to untreated controls, even without reaching viral clearance. Unfortunately, interferon regimens could only yield viral clearance in approximately half of the patients. The recent development of new all-oral regimens with direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) has radically improved the cure rate to above 90%. In respect to these findings, many would have thought that interferon-free regimens would decrease the development and recurrence of HCC. Literature data have unexpectedly reported high rates of both the occurrence and recurrence of HCC after therapy with DAAs. However, it is probably too early to express some concerns. More recent data showed that both occurrence and recurrence of HCC are decreased by the DAAs. Interferon-free therapy is definitely not without limits. Together with the initial thoughts of an increased risk of HCC, these may lead to an unwanted restricted access to interferon-free regimens in specific subpopulations. This issue should be settled as soon as possible because millions of hepatitis C patients are and will be using DAAs in the present and future. Our purpose is to review the existing literature and to offer a more precise and rational interpretation of the existing data.
Key words: Hepatocellular carcinoma – HCV related liver cirrhosis – recurrence – direct antiviral drugs.
Abreviations: AFP: alpha-fetoprotein; DAA: direct antiviral agent; HCC: hepatocellular carcinoma; HCV: hepatitis C virus; HR: hazard ratio; IFN: interferon; LDV: Ledispavir; SMV: Simeprevir; SOF: Sofosbuvir; SVR: sustained virologic response.