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Increased mortality rates seen in chronic hepatitis C patients with pre-cirrhotic advanced fibrosis
Date:4/7/2011

A three-year follow-up study of patients in the Hepatitis C Antiviral Long-term Treatment against Cirrhosis (HALT-C) trial revealed that increased mortality among patients with advanced chronic hepatitis C who received long-term peginterferon therapy was attributed to non-liver related causes and occurred primarily in patients with bridging fibrosis. No pattern to this excess mortality was evident to researchers, but deaths were unrelated to the peginterferon treatment. Full findings are published in the April issue of Hepatology, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD).

Infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the primary cause of chronic hepatitis in the U.S., and is a major cause of morbidity and mortality resulting from cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 3.2 million American are infected with chronic HCV which accounts for up to 10,000 deaths annually in the U.S. The standard treatment for chronic HCV is a combination of pegylated interferon and ribavirina combination therapy which achieves sustained virological response rates of 40%-80% as reported by the CDC. Though antiviral therapy may decrease the rate of progression and death from chronic HCV, there is currently no beneficial therapy available for patients who fail to respond to standard treatment.

The initial HALT-C Triala randomized, controlled study of 1,050 chronic HCV patients with advanced fibrosis (n=622) or cirrhosis (n=428) who failed to achieve a sustained response from prior antiviral therapyevaluated the effects of low-dose maintenance therapy with peginterferon, compared to no therapy, in slowing disease progression and preventing end-stage liver disease, HCC, and death. The results from the randomized phase showed that long-term peginterferon treatment failed to produce a positive effect on clinical outcomes or death. Furthermore, t
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Contact: Dawn Peters
healthnews@wiley.com
781-388-8408
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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