AIM: To describe our experience using a low-accelerating-dose regimen (LADR) with pegylated interferon alpha-2a and ribavirin in treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) recurrence. METHODS: From 2003, a protocolized LADR strategy was employed to treat liver transplant (LT) recipients with recurrent HCV at our institution. Medical records of 182 adult patients with recurrent HCV treated with LADR between 1/2003 and 1/2011 were reviewed. Histopathology from all post-LT liver biopsies were reviewed in a blinded fashion. Paired recipient and donor IL28B status were assessed. A novel technique was employed to ascertain recipient and donor IL28B (rs12979860) Gt data using DNA extracted from archival FFPE tissue from explanted native livers and donor gallbladders respectively. The primary endpoint was SVR; secondary endpoints examined include (1) patient and graft survival; (2) effect of anti-viral therapy on liver histology (fibrosis and inflammation); (3) incidence of on-treatment development of ACR, CDR, or PCH; (4) association of recipient and donor IL28B genotype with SVR; and (5) incidence of antiviral therapy-associated adverse events (anemia, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, depression) and hepatic decompensation. RESULTS: The overall SVR rate was 38% (29% Gt1, 67% Gt2, 86% Gt3 and 58% Gt4). HCV Gt (P < 0.0001), donor age (P = 0.003), cytomegalovirus mismatch (P = 0.001), baseline serum bilirubin (P = 0.002), and baseline viral load (P = 0.04) were independent predictors for SVR. SVR rates were significantly higher in the recipient-CC/donor-non CC pairs (P = 0.007). Neither baseline fibrosis nor change in fibrosis stage after anti-viral therapy were associated with SVR. Fibrosis progressed in 72% of patients despite SVR. Median graft survival was 91 mo. Five-year patient survival was superior in patients who achieved SVR (97% vs 82%, P = 0.001). Pre-treatment ALP ≥ 150 U/L (P = 0.01), total bilirubin ≥ 1.5 mg/dL (P = 0.001) and creatinine ≥ 2 mg/dL (P = 0.001) were independently associated with patient survival. Only 13% of patients achieving SVR died during the follow-up period. Treatment discontinuation and treatment-related mortality occurred in 35% and 2.2% of patients, respectively. EPO, G-CSF and blood transfusion were needed in 89%, 40% and 23% of patients, respectively. Overall hospitalization rate for treatment-related serious adverse events was 21%. Forty-six (25%) of the patients were deceased; among those who died, 25 (54%) were due to liver-related complications, and 4 deaths (9%) occurred while receiving therapy (2 patients experienced hepatic decompensation and 2 sepsis). CONCLUSION: LADR strategy remains relevant in managing post-LT recurrent HCV where access to DAAs is limited. SVR is associated with improved survival, but fibrosis progression still occurs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6236-6245
Number of pages10
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number20
StatePublished - 28 May 2015


  • Hepatitis C recurrence
  • IL28B
  • Liver transplant
  • Low accelerating dose regimen
  • Peginterferon α-2a


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