1Division of Liver Diseases, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, USA.
2Division of Liver Diseases, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, USA. Electronic address: Scott.Friedman@mssm.edu.
A sustained virological response (SVR) from HCV (synonymous with virological cure) leads to decreased mortality, morbidity and improved quality of life, as well as a reduced incidence of liver disease progression, including liver failure, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Large clinical trials comparing pre- and post-treatment liver biopsies demonstrate improvements in inflammation as well as fibrosis score following SVR. However, a small subset of patients display persistent hepatic inflammation and/or progress to cirrhosis despite SVR. In addition to conferring a risk of fibrosis progression, advanced fibrosis pre-treatment is a major risk factor for post-SVR hepatocellular carcinoma. In this review, we discuss the mechanisms of fibrosis regression uncovered using experimental fibrosis models and highlight potential mechanisms in those few patients with fibrosis progression despite SVR. We also introduce current concepts of fibrosis-dependent tumorigenesis post-SVR in patients with advanced disease. This article forms part of a symposium in Antiviral Research on "Hepatitis C: next steps toward global eradication."