Limited Fibrosis Progression but Significant Mortality in Patients Ineligible for Interferon-Based Hepatitis C Therapy

Manhal Izzy, Ghalib Jibara, Aws Aljanabi, Mustafa Alani, Emily Giannattasio, Hina Zaidi, Zaid Said, Paul Gaglio, Allan W. Wolkoff, John F. Reinus

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Background: Individuals ineligible for interferon-based hepatitis C therapy may have a worse prognosis than patients who have failed or not received treatment. Aims: To provide information about the limitations of medical treatment of hepatitis C in real-world patients. Methods: We studied 969 treatment-ineligible patients and 403 treated patients enrolled between 1/1/01 and 6/30/06; data were collected until 3/31/13. Treatment barriers were grouped into five categories and classified as health-related or health-unrelated. Fibrosis stage was assessed initially and at the end of follow-up. Mortality was determined by search of the Social Security database. Death certificates of treatment-ineligible patients were reviewed. Results: Initially, 288 individuals had advanced fibrosis and compensated disease; 87 untreated patients developed advanced fibrosis during follow-up. Health-related treatment barriers were more commonly associated with fibrosis progression and worse survival. During follow-up, 247 untreated patients died: 47% of liver-related and 53% of liver-unrelated causes. Patients with significant comorbid illness had the worst five-year (70%) and ten-year (50.5%) survival. Despite high mortality (47%) in persons with decompensated liver disease, no treatment barrier was associated with a greater incidence of liver-related death. Only significant comorbid medical illness was an independent predictor of disease progression; however, it was not associated with a greater incidence of liver-related death. Furthermore, treated patients had better 10-year survival than untreated patients on Kaplan-Meier analysis (80.3% vs. 74.5%, P = 0.005). Conclusion: Many patients with hepatitis C will die of non-liver-related causes and may not be helped by anti-viral treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Clinical and Experimental Hepatology
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 17 2016



  • Hepatitis C
  • Liver fibrosis
  • Mortality
  • Progression
  • Treatment barrier

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology

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