Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related cirrhosis is the leading indication for orthotopic liver transplantation (OLTx). HCV recurrence is universal after OLTx, with a highly variable course. This study aimed to find factors that affect progression of fibrosis in recurrent HCV.
Methods: Fifty-eight HCV patients underwent OLTx at our center who were selected on the basis of available preOLTx serum or explanted liver sample and liver biopsy obtained at least 6 months postOLTx. All liver biopsies were performed when clinically indicated and were scored using the modified Hepatitis Activity Index (HAI). Primary immunosuppression consisted of tacrolimus and prednisone.
Results: The group included 41 males (mean age 49.6 years). HCV genotype distribution was 1a, 31 (53%); 1b, 16 (28%), and others 11 (19%). The mean follow-up was 53.1 months. Patients with genotype 1a (n=31; mean 46.3 months) had significantly lower fibrosis-free survival analyzed by the presence of fibrosis stages 5 and 6 when compared with other genotypes (n=27; mean 60.1 months; P=0.0088, log rank test). Mean HAI scores were significantly higher in HCV genotype 1a, although there were no differences in survival between genotypes. Similarly, patients with cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection postOLTx (n=4) had a higher fibrosis progression rate compared with those without CMV (n=54) (mean fibrosis-free survival 29.0 vs. 53.0 months P=0.0004, log-rank test). Human leukocyte antigen matching and rate of acute rejection did not influence progression of fibrosis.
Conclusion: Patients with HCV genotype 1a and those developing CMV postOLTx have a higher rate of hepatic fibrosis progression after OLTx for HCV-related chronic liver disease.