1Department of Infectious Diseases, Infection Control and Employee Health, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, 77030, USA.
BACKGROUND & AIMS:
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is associated with development of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (HCV-NHL). Antiviral therapy (AVT) is prioritized in HCV-infected patients with significant fibrosis/cirrhosis. It is unknown whether current recommendations based on liver parameters cover the risk of HCV-NHL development. We aimed to evaluate the liver disease stages of patients with HCV-NHL.
HCV-NHL patients seen at MD Anderson Cancer Center between 2008-2014 were evaluated for underlying liver disease within a year of HCV-NHL diagnosis by non-invasive fibrosis markers, radiology or liver biopsy. Included patients were observed retrospectively (2008 - 2012) or prospectively (2012 - 2014).
Eighty nine patients with HCV-NHL were evaluated. Most patients had genotype 1 (62%) infection, had diffuse large B cell lymphomas (62%), and detectable HCV RNA (90%) at NHL diagnosis. Notably, advanced liver disease (Metavir stage ≥ 3) was present in only 18% of the patients at the time of HCV-NHL diagnosis. All 53 patients with chronic HCV infection documented before lymphoma diagnosis were seen by HCV-treating physicians. Providers did not recommend AVT in almost one half of cases (44%), mostly because of the lack of advanced liver disease at HCV diagnosis (38%).
Most patients with HCV-NHL have mild liver disease at cancer diagnosis. Our findings suggest the need for early initiation of AVT in infected patients to eradicate HCV infection and its extra-hepatic manifestations. Treatment prioritization and cost must be weighed against the potential benefits of preventing NHL.