Background: As the population that is infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) ages, the number of patients with decompensated cirrhosis is expected to increase.
Methods: We conducted a phase 3, open-label study involving both previously treated and previously untreated patients infected with HCV genotypes 1 through 6 who had decompensated cirrhosis (classified as Child-Pugh-Turcotte class B). Patients were randomly assigned in a 1:1:1 ratio to receive the nucleotide polymerase inhibitor sofosbuvir and the NS5A inhibitor velpatasvir once daily for 12 weeks, sofosbuvir-velpatasvir plus ribavirin for 12 weeks, or sofosbuvir-velpatasvir for 24 weeks. The primary end point was a sustained virologic response at 12 weeks after the end of therapy.
Results: Of the 267 patients who received treatment, 78% had HCV genotype 1, 4% genotype 2, 15% genotype 3, 3% genotype 4, and less than 1% genotype 6; no patients had genotype 5. Overall rates of sustained virologic response were 83% (95% confidence interval [CI], 74 to 90) among patients who received 12 weeks of sofosbuvir-velpatasvir, 94% (95% CI, 87 to 98) among those who received 12 weeks of sofosbuvir-velpatasvir plus ribavirin, and 86% (95% CI, 77 to 92) among those who received 24 weeks of sofosbuvir-velpatasvir. Post hoc analysis did not detect any significant differences in rates of sustained virologic response among the three study groups. Serious adverse events occurred in 19% of patients who received 12 weeks of sofosbuvir-velpatasvir, 16% of those who received 12 weeks of sofosbuvir-velpatasvir plus ribavirin, and 18% of those who received 24 weeks of sofosbuvir-velpatasvir. The most common adverse events were fatigue (29%), nausea (23%), and headache (22%) in all patients and anemia (31%) in the patients receiving ribavirin.
Conclusions: Treatment with sofosbuvir-velpatasvir with or without ribavirin for 12 weeks and with sofosbuvir-velpatasvir for 24 weeks resulted in high rates of sustained virologic response in patients with HCV infection and decompensated cirrhosis. (Funded by Gilead Sciences; ASTRAL-4 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02201901.).