Effect of long-term interferon therapy for refractory chronic hepatitis C: Preventive effect on hepatocarcinogenesis

Yoshimasa Saito, Hidetsugu Saito, Shinichiro Tada, Nobuhiro Nakamoto, Hitomi Horikawa, Satoshi Kurita, Kumi Kitamura, Hirotoshi Ebinuma, Hiromasa Ishii, Toshifumi Hibi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Aims: Effect of interferon (IFN) therapy for refractory chronic hepatitis C is not sufficient. For patients with persistent hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, one of the clinical goals is prevention of progression to liver cirrhosis (LC) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In this study; we evaluated effect of long-term IFN administration for refractory chronic hepatitis C. Methodology: The patients who were positive for HCV of genotype Ib in high viral load and failed in HCV elimination by standard IFN therapy were retrospectively analyzed. The patients were divided into three groups according to administration duration of IFN therapy. The patients in group 1, 2 and 3 received IFN therapy for 6 months, 6-24 months and more than 24 months, respectively. Results: The normalization rate of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels less than twice that of the normal limit 6 months after the treatment was highest in group 3 (85%). The platelet counts in group 1 gradually decreased more than 3×104/μL from the pretreatment levels at 100 months after the start of treatment. Cumulative hepatocarcinogenesis rate in groups 1, 2 and 3 were 34.7%, 5.9% and 0%, respectively. We found distinct improvement in both ALT levels and histopathological findings in the case that received the longest term of IFN therapy (91 months). Conclusions: Long-term IFN therapy is effective in preventing hepatocarcinogenesis through reduction of chronic necroinflammation and accumulation of fibrosis in the liver and may he a good indication even for refractory chronic hepatitis C.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1491-1496
Number of pages6
Issue number65
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Sept 1


  • Hepatocarcinogenesis
  • Long-term IFN
  • Refractory hepatitis C

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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