1 Department of Internal Medicine, The Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, USA.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW:
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been the leading cause of cirrhosis in the United States now for the last several decades. With the introduction of highly effective direct acting antiviral (DAA) drugs, cure rates are now almost 100%. With this explosion of effective therapy, it is possible that many patients with HCV may have reversion in fibrosis. The purpose of this review is, therefore, to report on recent findings in this field.
Older data that examined the effect of interferon-based HCV therapy indicate that fibrosis reverses after HCV eradication. More recent work in the DAA era similarly indicates that fibrosis is reversible. A caveat is that DAA therapy causes rapid viral clearance, and appears to lead to rapid reductions in inflammation. Some tools (such as transient elastography), which may also reflect the inflammatory response, and thus may 'overestimate' of fibrosis reversal. However, emerging data suggesting improved outcomes in patients with cirrhosis after HCV clearance support the concept that even cirrhosis reverses in some patients.
Fibrosis (and cirrhosis) reversion, to some extent, occurs after HCV clearance. This topic is vitally important and information continues to emerge; more data on this subject are expected and needed.