Direct antiviral therapy for hepatitis C cirrhotic patients in liver transplantation settings: a systematic review.
Summary: This review of the literature examined the outcomes of direct antiviral therapy and liver transplantation (LT) in the treatment of patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) cirrhosis.
Conclusion: In patients with hepatitis C virus cirrhosis, treatment with direct antiviral therapy should be individualized.
Background: Hepatitis C (HCV)-induced decompensated cirrhosis warrants liver transplantation (LT) as the only ultimate solution. These patients experience liver deterioration, while on the transplant waitlist. However, debate remains over the optimal timing for treating HCV relative to before or after LT.
Methods: We performed a literature search between 1/2011 and 1/2022 on PubMed and OVID Medline. Data were extracted from direct antiviral agent (DAA) studies in English. The outcomes of interest included sustained virological response (SVR) rates from various cohorts as well as long- and short-term outcomes in the LT settings.
Results: After screening, 54 studies were eligible and included into the review. In aligning with the EASL and AASLD guidelines and suggestions, many studies supported DAA therapy before LT in patients with Model for End-stage Liver Disease (MELD) scores < 18 and DAA therapy post-LT in MELD scores > 20 through SVR rates, long-term survival factors, liver deterioration, and incidences of severe adverse events. However, uncertainty still lies in the guideline recommendations and unsettled issues remain for various patient cohorts that may benefit from opposing the guideline cutoffs. Based on the recent studies on predictors of treatment outcomes in decompensated patients and the impact of DAA on the waiting list for LT, we proposed an algorithm to manage patients with MELD scores between 18 and 20.
Conclusions: DAA therapy for decompensated patients must be personalized with consideration of different factors, particularly among those with MELD scores between the two cutoff-values proposed by the current associational guidelines.