1Department of Hepatology, Toranomon Hospital, Tokyo, Japan.
Background: The significance of anti-inflammatory therapy has not been fully evaluated in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related cirrhosis.
Patients and Methods: We analyzed stepwise progression rates from cirrhosis to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and to death using a Markov model in 1,280 patients with HCV-related cirrhosis. During the observation period, 303 patients received interferon and 736 received glycyrrhizin injections as anti-inflammatory therapy.
Results: In the entire group, annual progression rates from cirrhosis to HCC and from cirrhosis to death were 6.8 and 1.9%, and the rate from HCC to death was 19.0%. When sustained virological response (SVR) or biochemical response (BR) was attained with interferon, the annual rate to HCC decreased to 2.6%. On the contrary, the progression rates to HCC and to death in the patients without SVR and BR were 7.2 and 2.0%, respectively (p < 0.0001). Continuous interferon administration significantly decreased the carcinogenesis rate to 5.5% (p = 0.0087). In the analysis of the remaining patients with high alanine transaminase of 75 IU/l or more but without interferon response or without interferon administration, glycyrrhizin injection significantly decreased annual non-progression probability (no glycyrrhizin 88.0% vs. glycyrrhizin therapy 92.3%, p = 0.00055).
Conclusion: Glycyrrhizin injection therapy is useful in the prevention of disease progression in interferon-resistant or intolerant patients with HCV-related cirrhosis.