Department of Gastroenterology, Ogaki Municipal Hospital, Ogaki, Japan.
Radiology, Ogaki Municipal Hospital, Ogaki, Japan.
Department of Epidemiology, Infectious Disease Control, and Prevention, Hiroshima University Institute of Biomedical and Health Sciences, Hiroshima, Japan.
Institute of Translational Medicine, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, U.K.
BACKGROUND & AIMS:
It remains controversial whether the eradication of hepatitis C virus (HCV) by interferon (IFN)-free anti-HCV therapy using direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) suppresses or promotes hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development. We investigated the influence of HCV eradication by DAA therapy on HCC development, by observing changes of non-hypervascular hypointense nodules (NHHNs) by gadolinium-ethoxybenzyl-diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (EOB-MRI).
A total of 401 patients treated with DAA therapy who did not have a history of HCC were enrolled in this prospective cohort study. All patients underwent EOB-MRI prior to the start of DAA therapy and were followed up periodically after therapy. The progression of NHHNs detected at baseline to typical HCC, as indicated by hypervascularization and the incidence of newly emergent NHHNs, was analyzed.
In comparison of patients who achieved sustained virologic response (SVR) with propensity score-matched patients with persistent HCV infection, there was no difference in the incidence of hypervascularization of NHHNs to typical HCC among patients who had NHHNs at baseline. Among patients who did not have NHHNs at baseline, the incidence of the new emergence of NHHNs did not differ between study patients and propensity score-matched patients with persistent HCV infection.
During a 2-year observation period after SVR, the eradication of HCV by IFN-free DAA therapy did not suppress or enhance HCC development.