Gv. Papatheodoridis et al., Effect of interferon therapy on the development of hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with hepatitis C virus-related cirrhosis: a meta-analysis., ALIM PHARM, 15(5), 2001, pp. 689-698
Background: The role of interferon in the prevention of hepatocellular carc
inoma remains controversial.
Aim: In this meta-analysis we evaluated the hepatocellular carcinoma incide
nce in interferon-treated and -untreated patients with hepatitis C virus-re
Methods: Eleven studies with 2178 patients were found to fulfil our inclusi
on criteria, The pooled odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) w
ere calculated from the raw study data.
Results: Hepatocellular carcinoma development was significantly more freque
nt in untreated (21.5%) than in interferon-treated patients (8.2%; OR: 3.0,
95% CI: 2.3-3.9). In the five studies reporting hepatocellular carcinoma i
ncidence in patients with and without sustained response to interferon, hep
atocellular carcinoma was detected at a much higher rate in patients withou
t (9%) than with a sustained response (0.9%; OR: 3.7, 95% CI: 1.7-7.8). Mor
eover, hepatocellular carcinoma developed significantly more frequently in
the untreated patients than in the non-sustained responders (OR: 2.7, 95% C
I: 1.9-3.9). The benefit from interferon on hepatocellular carcinoma incide
nce was not influenced by the study type (prospective or retrospective), th
e follow-up duration, or the study origin.
Conclusions: Interferon therapy significantly reduces the hepatocellular ca
rcinoma risk in patients with hepatitis C virus cirrhosis. Hepatocellular c
arcinoma development becomes almost negligible among sustained responders,
but a reduction in hepatocellular carcinoma incidence is also achieved even
in the non-sustained responders.