Those who treat their hepatitis C virus (HCV) while they have compensated cirrhosis increase their survival rate to that of the general population. Publishing their findings in the Journal of Hepatology, researchers conducted a prospective study of surveillance data from three cohorts of Italians with hep C and compensated cirrhosis who were cured of the virus through interferon treatment.

The researchers compared these individuals with people with compensated cirrhosis who were treated for hep C but not cured, those with compensated cirrhosis who were not treated and people with hep C and decompensated cirrhosis.

One cohort included people with hep C–related cirrhosis who attended three liver centers in Milan between January 1989 and December 1992. A second cohort included people with compensated cirrhosis who were seen at another Milan clinic from January 1997 to December 1997. And the third cohort included cirrhotic people with hep C seen by liver specialists at a clinic in Palermo who started interferon-based hep C treatment between January 2002 and December 2009.

All told, there were 1,802 people with hep C–related cirrhosis in the study. A total of 434 of them had decompensated cirrhosis. The remaining 1,368 had compensated cirrhosis. Out of that group, 572 were not treated for hep C, and 796 were treated. Out of those who were treated, 615 were cured, and 181 were not.

The 10- and 20-year survival rates for the whole group were a respective 90.9 percent and 62.9 percent.

During a median follow-up of 9.6 years, 28 people died out of 181 individuals who were cured. Comparing the individuals in the cohort with matched controls from the general Italian population, the researchers estimated that the cured individuals had a survival rate comparable to the general population.

Compared with those in the cohort who were cured, those who were not had a 3.85-fold increased risk of dying, those who were not treated had a 3.01-fold increased risk of dying and those who had decompensated cirrhosis had a 6.7-fold increased risk of dying.

To read the study abstract, click here.