Interferon-alpha therapy for hepatitis C virus recurrence after liver transplantation: long-term response with maintenance therapy

Clin Transplant. 1996 Aug;10(4):348-51.


Interferon-alpha is currently the only available treatment for HCV hepatitis. We assessed the safety and efficacy of 6 month course of interferon therapy in 18 consecutive liver transplant recipients with recurrent HCV hepatitis and report the long-term response with maintenance interferon. Median follow-up after the institution of interferon was 24 months. Complete response was defined as normalization of both aspartate and alanine aminotransferase. Complete response after 6 months of interferon was observed in 28% (5/18); an additional 33% (6/18) of the patients were late responders. Overall, 61% (11/18) of the patients had long-term sustained normal response at a median follow-up of 24 months. Long-term sustained response was observed in 73% (8/11) of the patients who continued interferon beyond 6 months vs. 43% (3/7) in those who received 6 months of interferon. Fatigue, headache and cytopenia were the most commonly observed side-effects occurring in 39%, 22% and 28% of the patients, respectively. Discontinuation of interferon, however, was not required in any of the patients. Rejection was documented in 6% (1/18) patients receiving interferon; this incidence was not higher than rejection episodes occurring > 6 months post-transplant in other recipients transplanted during the same period and who did not receive interferon. Responders had a trend towards later recurrence of HCV hepatitis after transplantation. In conclusion; maintenance interferon was well tolerated and appeared to improve the long-term outcome in our patients; however, future studies should evaluate this in a controlled trial.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antiviral Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antiviral Agents / adverse effects
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Graft Rejection
  • Hepatitis C / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Interferon-alpha / administration & dosage
  • Interferon-alpha / adverse effects
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use*
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / therapy
  • Recurrence
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Interferon-alpha