Effectiveness of hepatitis C antiviral treatment in a USA cohort of veteran patients with hepatocellular carcinoma

J Hepatol. 2017 Jul;67(1):32-39. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2017.02.027. Epub 2017 Mar 4.


Background & aims: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) was uncommon before direct-acting antiviral (DAA) medications. Real-world effectiveness of DAAs for HCV in patients with HCC is unclear. We describe rates of sustained virologic response (SVR) with DAA regimens by HCV genotype in patients with a history of HCC.

Methods: We identified patients who initiated antiviral treatment between January 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015 in the national Veterans Affairs health care system. Regimens included sofosobuvir, ledipasvir/sofosbuvir, and paritaprevir/ritonavir/ombitasvir and dasabuvir with or without ribavirin. HCC patients were divided into those who were treated with liver transplantation after HCC diagnosis ("HCC/LT" group) and those treated with other modalities prior to antiviral therapy ("HCC" group).

Results: Of 17,487 HCV treatment recipients, 624 (3.6%) had prior HCC, including 142 with HCC/LT and 482 with HCC. Overall SVR was 91.1% in non-HCC, 74.4% in HCC, and 94.0% in HCC/LT. Among HCC patients, genotype 1 had the highest SVR overall (79.1% in HCC and 96.4% in HCC/LT), and genotype 3 the lowest (47.0% in HCC and 88.9% in HCC/LT). After adjustment for confounders, the presence of HCC was associated with lower likelihood of SVR overall (AOR 0.38 [95% CI 0.29, 0.48], p<0.001).

Conclusion: HCV can be cured with DAAs in the majority of patients with prior HCC, and in virtually all HCC patients post-liver transplant. Deferral of HCV treatment until the post-transplant setting may be considered among HCC patients listed for transplantation.

Lay summary: Over three-quarters of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma who have hepatitis C can achieve viral cure with direct-acting antiviral drugs. Among patients with hepatocellular carcinoma who subsequently received liver transplantation, over 90% of patients can achieve viral cure.

Keywords: Ledipasvir/sofosbuvir; Liver transplant; Paritaprevir/ritonavir/ombitasvir and dasabuvir; Sustained virologic response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / virology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Hepatitis C / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / virology*
  • Liver Transplantation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Veterans*


  • Antiviral Agents