Interferon-alpha therapy for hepatitis C virus infection after liver transplantation

Hepatology. 1994 Oct;20(4 Pt 1):773-9. doi: 10.1002/hep.1840200402.


The aims of this pilot study were to evaluate the safety and efficacy of interferon-alpha 2b for treatment of hepatitis C virus infection in liver transplant recipients, to monitor changes in hepatitis C virus RNA levels with treatment and to determine pretreatment parameters predictive of a complete response. Eighteen patients with documented hepatitis C virus viremia and histological evidence of hepatitis after liver transplantation received 3 million units of alpha interferon three times weekly for at least 4 mo. Pretreatment serum aminotransferase levels were at least 1.5 times the upper limit of normal and no patient had concomitant hepatitis B virus infection. Response to therapy was defined as normalization of both aspartate and alanine aminotransferase at the end of treatment. Five patients (28%) had a complete response, whereas 13 (72%) had persistent elevation of one or both aminotransferases (nonresponders). At the end of therapy, hepatitis C virus RNA levels were reduced in both responders and nonresponders (p = 0.043 and 0.039, respectively by Wilcoxon signed rank test). After cessation of treatment, aminotransferases remained normal in four of five responders but serum hepatitis C virus RNA levels returned to pretreatment levels in responders and nonresponders. There was no significant change in histological score with therapy. Responders were more likely than nonresponders to have low pretreatment hepatitis C virus RNA levels and low serum bilirubin (p = 0.0004 and 0.0077, respectively). Responders tended to have a prolonged interval between transplantation and initiation of therapy (p = 0.10 by rank logistic regression analysis). Side effects resulted in early cessation of therapy in two patients and dose reduction in six.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / blood
  • Base Sequence
  • Bilirubin / blood
  • Female
  • Hepacivirus / genetics
  • Hepatitis C / blood
  • Hepatitis C / therapy*
  • Hepatitis C / virology
  • Humans
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use*
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Pilot Projects
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Postoperative Complications / blood
  • Postoperative Complications / therapy
  • Postoperative Complications / virology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • RNA, Viral / blood
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Remission Induction


  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha
  • RNA, Viral
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases
  • Alanine Transaminase
  • Bilirubin