Treatment of hepatitis C virus-associated mixed cryoglobulinemia with direct-acting antiviral agents

Hepatology. 2016 Feb;63(2):408-17. doi: 10.1002/hep.28297. Epub 2015 Dec 11.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the most common cause of mixed cryoglobulinemia syndrome (MCS). The efficacy and safety of all-oral direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy in HCV-associated MCS (HCV-MCS) is largely unknown. The authors studied case series of patients with HCV-MCS who were treated with sofosbuvir-based regimens and historical controls treated with pegylated interferon and ribavirin in a single health care network. HCV-MCS was defined by circulating cryoglobulin associated with systemic vasculitis symptoms. Renal involvement (n = 7) was established by kidney biopsy (n = 5) or by two or more of the following clinical findings: reduced kidney function, proteinuria, or hematuria with other causes excluded (n = 2). Twelve patients received DAA therapy between December 2013 and September 2014. Median age was 61 years, 58% were male, and 50% had cirrhosis. Median baseline serum creatinine was 0.97 mg/dL (range 0.7-2.47). Four patients received rituximab concurrent with DAA therapy. Sustained virological response rate at 12 weeks (SVR12) was 83% overall. Patients with glomerulonephritis who achieved SVR12 experienced an improvement in serum creatinine and a reduction in proteinuria. Cryoglobulin levels decreased in 89% of patients, with median percent decreasing from 1.5% to 0.5% and completely disappearing in four of nine cases who had cryoglobulins measured after treatment. Serious adverse events were infrequent (17%). In contrast, the historical cohort treated with pegylated interferon and ribavirin experienced only 10% SVR12, with 100% experiencing at least one adverse event and 50% experiencing premature discontinuation due to adverse events.

Conclusion: SVR12 rates for sofosbuvir-based DAA regimens in HCV-MCS were 83%, significantly higher than historical controls treated with pegylated interferon and ribavirin; patients with glomerulonephritis experienced improvement in renal function, including those not concomitantly treated with immunosuppression.

Publication types

  • Clinical Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cryoglobulinemia / drug therapy*
  • Cryoglobulinemia / virology*
  • Female
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / complications*
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ribavirin / therapeutic use*
  • Sofosbuvir / therapeutic use*


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Ribavirin
  • Sofosbuvir