Background: Coinfection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a known risk factor for hepatotoxicity in patients receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of HCV-related liver fibrosis in HAART-associated hepatotoxicity.
Methods: In a prospective study involving 107 patients who underwent liver biopsy, fibrosis was graded according 5 stages, from F0 (no fibrosis) to F4 (cirrhosis). Hepatotoxicity was defined as an increase in levels of aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase to >5 times the upper limit of normal, or a >3.5-fold increase if baseline levels were abnormal. The incidence of hepatotoxicity was compared with liver fibrosis stage and with time and composition of HAART.
Results: Overall, 27 patients (25%) had hepatotoxic events (5.1 events/100 person-years of therapy). The incidence was greater for patients with stage F3 or F4 fibrosis (38%) than for those with stage F1 or F2 fibrosis (15%; 7.6 vs. 3 events/100 person-years; relative risk, 2.75; 95% confidence interval, 1.08-6.97; P=.013). Duration of HCV infection, duration of HAART, diagnosis of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, HCV load, HCV genotype, and nadir CD4(+) cell count did not affect the risk of hepatotoxicity. Of the 86 patients who received nonnucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs), 11 (13%) developed liver toxicity. In these patients, fibrosis stages F1 and F2 were associated with similar rates of toxicity (3 events/100 person-years for patients who received nevirapine, 3.3 events/100 person-years for those who received efavirenz, and 3.4 events/100 person-years for those who received non-NNRTIs). There was a greater incidence among patients with F3 or F4 fibrosis who received NNRTIs (11.7 events/100 person-years for patients who received nevirapine, and 8.6 events/100 person-years for those who received efavirenz), compared with those who received non-NNRTIs (4 events/100 person-years).
Conclusions: HAART-associated hepatotoxicity correlates with liver histological stage in patients coinfected with HIV and HCV. There was no difference in hepatotoxicity risk for different antiretroviral therapies in patients with mild-to-moderate fibrosis.