Direct-acting antivirals significantly decrease risk of hepatocellular carcinoma and mortality in persons with hepatitis C, according to results of the first prospective, longitudinal study to evaluate the effect of the drugs on complications related to the infection.
Compared with no treatment, DAA therapy cut risk of hepatocellular carcinoma by about one-third and all-cause mortality by about half in the study, which included about 10,000 adult patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection treated at 1 of 32 hepatology centers in France ().
There were no signs of increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma during treatment with DAAs, providing more evidence refuting earlier, single-center reports that had suggested an increased incidence early after treatment. These findings also counterbalance a recent Cochrane review that could not confirm or reject a potential benefit of drugs on long-term morbidity and mortality.
Results of the study, published in the, are based on analysis of 9,895 patients, including 7,344 who started DAA treatment and 2,551 who remained untreated at a median follow-up of more than 31 months. The median patient age was 56 years, and 53% were men.
Treatment with DAAs reduced risk of hepatocellular carcinoma when compared with no DAA treatment, with a hazard ratio of 0.66 (95% confidence interval, 0.46-0.93), and reduced risk of all-cause mortality, with an HR of 0.48 (95% CI, 0.33-0.70), investigators reported in a multivariable analysis that adjusted for variables including age, sex, fibrosis score, HCV genotype, alcohol use, and more.