A recent study suggests that hepatitis C virus (HCV) antiviral treatment may prevent liver cancer in people with HCV, nearly cutting in half the rates of the cancer for those with fibrosis or cirrhosis. Published online in BMJ Open and first reported by MedPage Today, the study was conducted by researchers at the University Hospital Hvidovre in Denmark. The scientists performed a meta-analysis of eight randomized controlled trials that compared antiviral therapy—interferon or pegylated interferon as monotherapy or paired with ribavirin—to a placebo or no antiviral treatment. Further analysis showed that those who respond well to hep C treatment have even lower rates of liver cancer. The trial was limited by the outdated nature of the treatments studied: Only two of the trials used the current standard treatment of pegylated interferon rather than regular interferon; and most of the trials involved monotherapy. While the researchers wrote that it was difficult to apply their results into clinical practice, they did speculate that with ever-improving HCV treatments, liver cancer rates will likely fall in tandem with improved virologic responses.

To read the MedPage Today article, click here.

To download a PDF of the study, click here.