Aims: The use of direct-acting anti-viral agents (DAAs) has resulted in extremely high sustained virological response (SVR) rates in patients being treated while on liver transplantation (LT) waiting lists. The aim of this study was to evaluate the histological findings of hepatitis C virus (HCV) patients who achieved SVR after receiving DAA treatment [SVR(+)] prior to LT, and compare them with HCV patients who had not achieved SVR [SVR(−)]. Methods and results: Fifty-eight adult HCV patients who underwent LT at our institution from 2014 to 2016 were included in the study. Two pathologists, blinded to SVR status, simultaneously evaluated the histological sections. Assessment included the Histology Activity Index (HAI/modified Knodell score), fibrosis stage (Ishak score), and Laennec cirrhosis stage. The study group comprised 25 SVR(+) patients (56% male; mean age, 63.8 years), and the control group comprised 33 SVR(−) patients (69% male; mean age, 61.7 years). There was no significant difference in HAI between the groups (P = 0.414). Patients who achieved SVR also did not show less portal inflammation (P = 0.787), interface hepatitis (P = 0.999), confluent necrosis (P = 0.627) or spotty necrosis (P = 0.093) than the control group. There was a trend towards a higher degree of inflammation in patients who achieved SVR in <24 weeks (P = 0.07). The degree of focal lytic necrosis/apoptosis and portal inflammation was more prominent in SVR(+) patients with shorter SVR–LT intervals. Conclusions: Our study is the first to report persistent inflammation in HCV patients who received DAAs prior to LT. This supports the notion that inflammation is immunologically driven and that inflammation persists despite the absence of virus.
- hepatitis C virus
- liver transplantation
- sustained virological response