For people with cirrhosis and hepatitis C virus (HCV), curing the virus is associated with a reduced risk of liver cancer, advanced cirrhosis and death of both liver-and non-liver-related causes.

Publishing their findings in the journal Gastroenterology, researchers conducted a prospective study of 1,323 people with hep C receiving care at 35 clinical centers in France from 2006 to 2012.

All of them had biopsy-confirmed cirrhosis classified as Child-Pugh class A, meaning it was on the relatively mild end of the advanced liver disease spectrum. They had not had any previous liver-related complications.

The participants were treated for hep C, either before or after entering the study, first with interferon and then, after failing that treatment, with direct-acting antivirals. They received ultrasound examinations every six months as well as evaluations through endoscopy.

After a median follow-up period of 58.2 months, 668 of the participants (50.5 percent) achieved a sustained virologic response 12 weeks after completing therapy (SVR12, considered a cure).

Compared with not being cured, being cured of hep C was associated with a 71 percent reduction in the rate of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC, the most common form of liver cancer), a 58 percent reduction in the risk of cardiovascular health events, a 56 percent reduced risk of bacterial infections and a 73 percent reduced overall risk of death during a five-year period, including an 81 percent reduced risk of liver-related death and a 56 percent reduced risk of non-liver-related death.

To read the study abstract, click here.