AASLD 2016 – The Liver Conference – Lucinda K. Porter, RN
Abstract #64 Hepatitis C Virus Reactivation in Patients with Cancer: A Prospective Observational Study of 91 Patients – Harrys A. Torres, et al.
There have been reports of possible reactivation of HCV in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. Up until now, the data are from retrospective studies. This prospective study enrolled 91 HCV-infected cancer patients. Those with liver cancer were excluded. The study looked for signs of HCV reactivation defined as an increase in HCV RNA ≥1 log10IU/mL over baseline and a hepatitis flare defined as liver enzymes (ALT) to >170 IU/ml.
Conclusion: Among those receiving cancer treatments, HCV reactivation occurred in 21% of patients, but only half of them (9 total) had a hepatitis flare. None had liver failure. The researchers concluded that most cancer treatments are safe in HCV+ pts, but advised monitoring those receiving rituximab or high-dose steroids.
Editorial Comments: I have two problems with this study. First, I think the study would have been better if they enrolled cancer patients who were cured of hep C. Second, I wish the study had been blinded. Chemotherapy and steroids can cause an increase in ALT levels, and comparing HCV-negative cancer patients to HCV-positive cancer patients seems like good science.
Lucinda K. Porter, RN, is a long-time contributor to the HCV Advocate and author of “Free from Hepatitis C” and “Hepatitis C One Step at a Time.” She blogs at www.LucindaPorterRN.com and HepMag.com
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