Interferon: Benefit Beyond Hepatitis Therapy?

Mallat, Damien B.; El-Serag, Hashem B.
December 2001
American Journal of Gastroenterology;Dec2001, Vol. 96 Issue 12, p3435
Academic Journal
In a randomized, controlled trial, 30 hepatitis C virus-infected men who underwent hepatic resection for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) were subsequently randomized to receive either interferon a (n = 15) or no interferon (n = 15). Eighty percent of patients had HCV genotype 1b and 20% had genotype 2a. Patients in the treatment group were given interferon a (6 million IU i.m.) daily for 2 wk, then three times weekly for 14 wk, and finally twice weekly for 88 wk. The investigators were blinded to the treatment assignment. The median durations of follow-up were approximately 3 and 2.5 yr for the interferon and control groups, respectively. Three patients (15%) did not complete interferon therapy as a result of side effects. In addition, four patients (20%) with recurrence of HCC had their interferon stopped before the end of the study to allow treatment of the tumor. In the interferon group, two patients had sustained viral response and six had biochemical response. In a survival analysis that included all randomized patients (i.e., intention to treat), recurrent HCC was detected in five patients (30%) in the interferon-a group and in 12 control patients (80%) (p = 0.037). The difference in the rate of HCC between the groups became apparent only after the first 2 yr of follow-up. The authors concluded that interferon-α therapy appears to decrease the recurrence of HCC after resection in patients with chronic hepatitis C infection.


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