Background: The long-term benefits of interferon-based therapy on preventing cirrhosis at non-cirrhotic stage in chronic hepatitis C patients are not fully clarified.
Aim: To evaluate the effectiveness of interferon-based therapy regarding to cirrhosis prevention in non-cirrhotic chronic hepatitis C patients.
Methods: A total of 1386 biopsy-proven, non-cirrhotic chronic hepatitis C patients (892 received interferon-based therapy and 494 untreated) were enrolled.
Results: Fifty-six untreated and 51 treated (24 sustained virologic responders and 27 non-responders) patients developed cirrhosis during a mean follow-up period of 5.0 (1-16) and 5.1 (1-15.3) years, respectively. The annual incidences of cirrhosis in untreated and treated groups were 2.26 and 1.11% (non-responders: 1.99%, sustained responders: 0.74%), respectively. The 15-year cumulative incidence of cirrhosis was significantly lower in treated (9.9%) than untreated patients (39.8%, P = 0.0008, log-rank test). The 14.5-year cumulative incidence of cirrhosis was significantly lower in sustained responders (4.8%) compared with non-responders (21.6%, P = 0.0007) and untreated patients (36.6%, P < 0.0001). The difference was not significant between non-responders and untreated controls. Cox proportional hazards regression showed sustained virologic responders and younger age were independent negative factors for cirrhosis development.
Conclusion: A sustained virologic response secondary to IFN-based therapy could reduce cirrhosis development in chronic hepatitis C patients.