Of all hepatitis C virus (HCV) patients, those with cirrhosis are most in need of treatment because of increased morbidity and mortality. Treatment with pegylated-interferon (PEG-IFN) and ribavirin (RBV) (PR) has definitely shown the benefits of successful treatment by improving fibrosis, causing the regression of cirrhosis and reducing and preventing cirrhosis-related complications. However, the sustained virological response (SVR) is lower in patients with cirrhosis. First generation protease inhibitors (boceprevir and telaprevir) in combination with PR are a major advancement in the treatment of both naïve and treatment-experienced genotype 1 patients. In naïve patients, the SVR rate with the triple regimen with boceprevir was increased by 14% in patients with severe fibrosis or cirrhosis compared with PR. This benefit was lower than that observed in patients with mild or moderate fibrosis (30%). The SVR rate of the triple regimen with telaprevir was increased by 10-30% compared with PR in patients with severe fibrosis or cirrhosis compared with nearly 30% in patients with mild or moderate fibrosis. In treatment-experienced patients, previous relapsers have the highest increase in SVR with the triple regimen compared with PR, whatever the status of fibrosis. Previous partial or non-responder patients with cirrhosis had lower SVR rates than those without cirrhosis. However, the benefits of telaprevir and boceprevir vs PR was maintained. Previous non-responder patients with cirrhosis benefited the least from treatment. The relapse rate was always higher and side effects were more frequent in patients with cirrhosis compared with those without. First generation protease inhibitors plus PR appear to be a new step forward in the management of HCV genotype 1 patients with cirrhosis.
© 2012 John Wiley & Sons A/S.