HepCInfo Updates

HepCInfo Update 9.5 

Welcome to CATIE's HepCInfo Update 9.5 for February 17 to March 2, 2018. Read on to learn more about new and updated scientific findings in hepatitis C prevention, care, treatment and support.

New and noteworthy

Heavy alcohol use linked to liver failure in people with hepatitis C

Having an alcohol use disorder is associated with liver failure in people with hepatitis C in British Columbia, Australia and Scotland, reported researchers in the Journal of Hepatology.   

The study included 58,487 people from British Columbia, 84,529 from New South Wales, Australia and 31,924 from Scotland. Each of these areas has a surveillance monitoring system for people with hepatitis C.

British Columbia had the highest proportion of people with liver failure (4.6%) compared with Scotland (4.3%) and New South Wales (3.7%).

Scotland had the highest proportion of people with liver failure who had an alcohol use disorder (50%) compared with New South Wales (32%) and British Columbia (28%).

In all three areas, people with an alcohol use disorder experienced liver failure at younger ages than those without an alcohol use disorder.

According to the researchers, “To tackle hepatitis C as a public health threat, where needed, [direct-acting antiviral] therapy should be combined with management of heavy alcohol use.” (Healio.com, February 2018)

Advanced liver injury improves in majority of people following hepatitis C cure

The majority of people with advanced liver injury prior to hepatitis C treatment experienced an improvement in liver injury following a cure, reported Swedish researchers in the Journal of Viral Hepatitis

The participants included 269 people with a mid-range of 7.7 years follow up time who were treated for hepatitis C at a Swedish University hospital.

Each person was tested at the time of the study for liver injury with a Fibroscan. Prior to treatment, each participant was tested for liver injury with either a liver biopsy, Fibroscan or clinical assessment.

The majority of participants (59%) were male and just under half (44%) had cirrhosis prior to treatment.

The majority (87%) of people with advanced fibrosis pre-treatment experienced a decrease in liver stiffness after being cured as did the majority (83%) of people with cirrhosis pre-treatment. An increase in liver stiffness is associated with an increase in liver injury.

However, 17% of people with cirrhosis and 13% of people with advanced fibrosis did not have a decrease in liver stiffness. Five percent experienced an increase in liver stiffness.

People who did not have improvements in liver injury were more likely to have cirrhosis prior to treatment, to be older (55 years and up) and to have a higher body mass index (above 25 kg/m2).

According to the researchers, “Liver fibrosis after achievement of sustained virological response [or cure] improved in the vast majority of our patients after long-term follow-up.” (infohep.org, February, 2018)

Straight to the source for new science

Hepatitis C virus testing for case identification in persons born during 1945-1965: Results from three randomized controlled trials, Hepatology, January 2018