Aim: To assess the long-term clinical benefit of sustained virological response (SVR) in patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) cirrhosis treated by antiviral therapy using mostly ribavirin plus interferon either standard or pegylated.
Methods: One hundred and thirteen patients with uncomplicated HCV biopsy-proven cirrhosis, treated by at least one course of antiviral treatment > or = 3 mo and followed > or = 30 mo were included. The occurrence of linical events [hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), decompensation and death] was compared in SVR and non SVR patients.
Results: Seventy eight patients received bitherapy and 63 had repeat treatments. SVR was achieved in 37 patients (33%). During a mean follow-up of 7.7 years, clinical events occurred more frequently in non SVR than in SVR patients, with a significant difference for HCC (24/76 vs 1/37, P = 0.01). No SVR patient died while 20/76 non-SVR did (P = 0.002), mainly in relation to HCC (45%).
Conclusion: In patients with HCV-related cirrhosis, SVR is associated with a significant decrease in the incidence of HCC and mortality during a follow-up period of 7.7 years. This result is a strong argument to perform and repeat antiviral treatments in patients with compensated cirrhosis.