As the era of interferon-alpha (IFN)-based therapy for hepatitis C ends, long-term treatment outcomes are now being evaluated.To more fully understand the natural history of hepatitis C infection by following a multisite cohort of patients.Patients with chronic HCV were prospectively enrolled in 1999-2000 from 11 VA medical centers and followed through retrospective medical record review.A total of 2211 patients were followed for an average of 8.5 years after enrollment. Thirty-one percent of patients received HCV antiviral therapy, 15 % with standard IFN/ribavirin only, 16 % with pegylated IFN/ribavirin, and 26.7 % of treated patients achieved sustained virologic response (SVR). Cirrhosis developed in 25.8 % of patients. Treatment nonresponders had a greater than twofold increase in the hazard of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, compared to untreated patients, whereas SVR patients were only marginally protected from cirrhosis. Nearly 6 % developed hepatocellular carcinoma, and 27.1 % died during the follow-up period. Treated patients, regardless of response, had a significant survival benefit compared to untreated patients (HR 0.58, CI 0.46-0.72). Improved survival was also associated with college education, younger age, lower levels of alcohol consumption, and longer duration of medical service follow-up-factors typically associated with treatment eligibility.As more hepatitis C patients are now being assessed for all-oral combination therapy, these results highlight that patient compliance and limiting harmful behaviors contribute a significant proportion of the survival benefit in treated patients and that the long-term clinical benefits of SVR may be less profound than previously reported.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s10620-016-4122-5
View details for PubMedID 27059981