Study purpose: To evaluate the effect of interferon treatment for reducing the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma among patients with type C chronic hepatitis.
Methods: Retrospective cohort study was conducted on 923 patients with type C chronic hepatitis, who were identified through databases of Osaka Medical Center for Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases. Two hundred and twenty-four of those had undergone interferon treatment, while the other 699 patients had not. Kaplan-Meier method and the proportional hazards model were used for statistical analysis.
Results: Five-years' cumulative incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma was 2.2% among the interferon treated patients, while 9.5% among the interferon untreated. Difference between the 2 curves of the cumulative incidence was statistically significant (p=0.0015). After adjustment for possible confounders, hazard rate ratio of hepatocellular carcinoma was 0.31 in the interferon treated group, significantly lower than that in the untreated (p=0.015). Hazard rate ratio for death from causes other than hepatocellular carcinoma and liver diseases was also lower among the interferon treated group than that among the untreated, although not significant.
Conclusions: Interferon treatment is suggested to reduce the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma among patients with type C chronic hepatitis, and not to increase the risk for death from causes other than hepatocellular carcinoma and liver diseases.