Last week, I promised to provide more information from the 2017 Liver Meeting, presented by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. Below are some highlights.

Updates on hepatitis elimination plans – first the bad news…

Hepatitis elimination plans are being developed at all levels, from local and regional to national and global. Various organizations released information assessing their progress, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Viral Hepatitis. The bottom line of the CDC’s report, Progress Toward Viral Hepatitis Elimination: National Progress Report with Data through 2015, shows that the U.S. is failing to meet its goals to adequately address viral hepatitis. In fact, we seem to be losing ground in some targeted areas.  Click here to read more about this.

The global efforts aren’t much better. Despite improvements in hepatitis C testing, treatment, and prevention programs, the World Health Organization’s Global Health Sector Strategy on Viral Hepatitis 2016-2021 reported that the prevalence of hepatitis C has declined a mere 2 percent in the past year. Click here to read more.

Now some good news – new hepatitis C treatments using direct-acting antivirals offer clear improvements in mortality, morbidity, and quality of life…

Multiple studies reinforced the idea that curing hepatitis C is a huge benefit. Zobair M. Younossi and colleagues reported on Gilead’s 3-year follow-up registry, which measured health-related quality of life. Patients who had an SVR (viral cure) reported improvements in all measured areas: Physical Functioning, Role Physical, Bodily Pain, General Health, Vitality, Social Functioning, Role Emotional, Mental Health; and, Physical and Mental Summary. Patients with depression, fatigue, insomnia and cirrhosis at baseline saw greater improvements. These improvements persisted for 3 years. (Abstract title: Significant and Sustained Improvement of Health-Related Quality of Life Scores in Patients with Hepatitis C and Sustained Virologic Response - 3 years follow-up)

AbbVie’s Mavyret (glecaprevir/pibrentasvir) showed well in a study headed by Sammy Saab, et al. The bottom line is that compared to current standards of care, Mavyret provided the most favorable improvements in quality-adjusted survival, cure rates (SVR) and lifetime risk reductions in liver-related morbidity and mortality. (Abstract title: Pan-Genotypic Hepatitis C Treatment With Glecaprevir/Pibrentasvir Achieves Greatest Improvements in Quality-Adjusted Life-Years and Lifetime Risk Reductions in Liver-Related Morbidity and Mortality vs Standards of Care: A Cost-Utility Analysis)

And finally, George N. Ioannou, Pamela Green, and Kristin Berry presented more data showing that curing hepatitis C reduces risk of liver cancer. In their work titled, Eradication of HCV induced by DAAs is associated with a 71% reduction in HCC risk, these researchers added more to the heaping pile of data showing that curing hepatitis C is indeed a remarkable achievement.