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News

Interferon therapy reduces cirrhosis in Hep B

Interferon-alpha-therapy reduces cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with Hepatitis, finds the most recent issue of the Journal of Hepatology.

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The long-term outcomes of interferon-alpha therapy in Hepatitis B e antigen seropositive patients remain controversial.

Dr Shi-Ming Lin and colleagues from Taiwan assessed the long-term outcomes Hepatitis B e antigen seropositive patients.

The investigative team compared 233 interferon-alpha-treated patients and 233 well-matched untreated controls.

The team evaluated the cumulative incidence at the end of 15 years of follow-up in the interferon-treated patients and controls.

Cirrhosis occurred in 18% in the interferon-treated group
Journal of Hepatology

The team noted that the cumulative incidence of the Hepatits B e antigen seroconversion was 75% in the treated group vs 52% in controls.

Hepatitis B surface antigen seroclearance occurred in 3% in the treated group compared with less than 1% in the control group.

The cumulative incidence of cirrhosis was 18% in the interferon-alpha-treated group vs 34% in the control group.

Hepatocellular carcinoma occurred in 3% of the interferon-alpha-treated vs 13% in the control group.

The investigators observed a significant reduction of hepatocellular carcinoma only in patients with pre-existing cirrhosis.

Compared with untreated controls with persistent Hepatitis B e antigen, Hepatitis B e antigen seroconverters treated with interferon showed lower incidence of cirrhosis.

The team noted that Hepatitis B e antigen seroconverters in the interferon-alpha-treated group had a lower incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma.

The investigators found that non-seroconverters in the interferon-alpha-treated group had marginally significant lower incidence of cirrhosis.

The investigators showed that interferon-alpha therapy, and Hepatitis B e antigen seroconversion are independent factors for better long-term outcomes.

In addition, the team found that genotype B Hepatitis B virus infection is an independent factor for better long-term outcomes.

Dr Lin's team concludes, “Interferon-alpha-therapy reduces cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma development.”

J Hepatology 2006: 46(1): 45-52
18 December 2006

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