Can antiviral therapy prevent liver cancer in patients with chronic hepatitis? – the asco publish


Chronic viral hepatitis is really a major causative factor for hepatocellular carcinoma, but antiviral therapy might lessen the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma by stopping or eliminating chronic hepatitis infections, based on Adrian M. Di Bisceglie, MD, Professor of Internal Medicine at St Louis College Liver Center in St. Louis, Missouri.1

Worldwide, chronic viral hepatitis makes up about nearly 75% of installments of hepatocellular carcinoma. About 55% of cases are connected with hepatitis B infection, 30% are connected with hepatitis C infection, and 14% are based on metabolic liver disease. Despite popular belief, alcohol consumption isn’t a major cause of hepatocellular carcinoma, comprising no more than .8% of cases, he noted.

“Hepatocellular carcinoma is interesting in my experience because in nearly every situation, you are able to indicate the direct etiology,” stated Dr. Di Bisceglie in the 2017 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Worldwide Conference on New Frontiers in Cancer Research, held lately in Cape Town, Nigeria.

Global Burden of Hepatitis B

About 400 million people are chronically have contracted hepatitis B, leading to in regards to a half-million deaths every year. “In the U . s . States, hepatitis B prevalence is just about .4%, however the Cdc and Prevention has noticed that our installments of chronic hepatitis B are, basically, imported,” he described. Chronic infection of people who acquire hepatitis B within the U . s . States is basically disappearing, but the amount of cases visiting the nation keeps growing substantially, mostly from japan and Africa.

Based on Dr. Di Bisceglie, the mechanisms of hepatocarcinogenesis connected with hepatitis B aren’t well-known, despite several decades of study, but can be either direct (by transactivation or viral integration) or indirect (via inflammation, fibrosis, or cirrhosis). Within the ­REVEAL study of the cohort of people have contracted hepatitis B,2 high viral load was proven to become connected by having an elevated incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma, which brought towards the question: “If you lower the viral load with antiviral therapy, will it lower your chance of cancer?”

Antiviral therapy against hepatitis B has largely evolved from using interferon alfa. The nucleoside analog lamivudine and antiviral agents entecavir and tenofovir are actually broadly accustomed to control hepatitis B. Within the only large, prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of antiviral therapy for patients with hepatitis B and advanced liver disease, 3.9% of patients receiving lamivudine developed hepatocellular carcinoma when compared with 7.4% on placebo (P = .047).3 Data supporting using entecavir and tenofovir to prevent hepatocellular carcinoma are questionable, but both agents seem to be impressive in managing hepatitis B infection, he noted.

Chronic Hepatitis C Infection

Hepatitis C has become the only largest reason for infectious disease dying within the U . s . States, lately surpassing infection using the hiv. A Couple Of,700,000 individuals the U . s . States have chronic hepatitis C infection, contributing to 17,000 new cases each year are noticed, leading to about 10,000 deaths yearly.

“We think it’s unlikely that there is a direct cancer causing effect connected with hepatitis C, and definitely there isn’t any viral integration,” he stated. “It’s more likely the mechanisms of hepatocarcinogenesis are indirect, through inflammation, fibrosis, and cirrhosis. And it is these patients with cirrhosis who will continue to get hepatocellular carcinoma and die using their disease.”

Chronic hepatitis C infection is connected about 30% of hepatocellular carcinoma cases worldwide, however in some regions, including Europe and also the U . s . States, it’s the leading underlying reason for the condition. Substantial evidence shows that effective management of hepatitis C can prevent hepatocellular carcinoma.

The HALT-C trial enrolled greater than 1,000 patients with hepatitis C and advanced fibrosis to get either lengthy-term maintenance therapy with low-dose peginterferon alfa or no treatment whatsoever for four years.4 An analysis of liver-related outcomes after 7 to eight many years of follow-up among patients who didn’t react to therapy demonstrated that patients who achieved viral cure had considerably lower rates of hepatic decompensation and hepatocellular carcinoma than individuals who didn’t react to interferon.5 This means that in patients with chronic hepatitis C infection, viral clearance by using interferon-based therapies may prevent not just progression in liver disease, but additionally hepatocellular carcinoma.

“One hypothesis to describe this really is that viral clearance is connected using the sudden lack of an inflammatory response that enables new tumors to build up and also be. Herpes is finished, so there’s no requirement for an inflammatory response,” he stated. “Or, we’re now treating patients with a lot more advanced liver disease and for that reason a greater probability of developing hepatocellular carcinoma.”

He described that hepatitis C virus therapies have evolved from the utilization of interferon-based treatment to direct-acting antiviral agents. Lately, concern continues to be elevated by what might be an elevated rate of hepatocellular carcinoma after viral clearance with direct-acting antivirals when compared with what had formerly been seen with ­interferon-based therapies.

Based on Dr. Di Bisceglie, antiviral strategy to viral hepatitis seems to possess benefits in decreasing the chance of hepatocellular carcinoma in chronically infected patients. The advantage is most pronounced in patients with chronic hepatitis C and much more marginal in patients with chronic hepatitis B, that antiviral therapy usually leads to viral suppression instead of elimination. Furthermore, patients with hepatitis C and cirrhosis ought to be continuously monitored, despite they’re cured of the hepatitis C infection, he stated. ■

Disclosure: Dr. Di Bisceglie has offered like a consultant to AbbVie, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Gilead and the institution has gotten research funding from all of these same companies, which market drugs to deal with hepatitis C and hepatitis B.


1. Di Bisceglie A: Protection against hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with antiviral therapy. 2017 AACR Worldwide Conference on New Frontiers in Cancer Research. Abstract IA37. Presented The month of january 21, 2017.

2. Chen CJ, Yang HI, Su J, et al: Chance of hepatocellular carcinoma across a biological gradient of serum hepatitis B virus DNA level. JAMA 295:65-73, 2006.

3. Liaw YF, Sang JJ, Chow WC, et al: Lamivudine for patients with chronic hepatitis B and advanced liver disease. N Engl J Mediterranean 351:1521-1531, 2004.

4. Di Bisceglie AM, Shiffman ML, Everson GT, et al: Prolonged therapy of advanced chronic hepatitis C with low-dose peginterferon. N Engl J Mediterranean 359:2429-2441, 2008.

5. Morgan TR, Ghany MG, Kim HY, et al: Results of sustained virological responders with histologically advanced chronic hepatitis C. Hepatology 52:833-844, 2010.


Liver cancer and cirrhosis of the liver