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AASLD 2016: Curing Hepatitis C May Help Reduce Kidney Disease Progression


People who achieved sustained virological response to interferon-based hepatitis C treatment experienced significantly less decline in kidney function, especially if they had liver cirrhosis, according to study findings presented at the 2016 AASLD Liver Meeting last month in Boston.

People with chronic hepatitis C have an increased risk of chronic kidney disease and experience more rapid kidney disease progression, though the reasons for this effect are not well understood.

Carla Rodriguez from Kaiser Permanente and colleagues compared changes in kidney function over time, and time to development of end-stage renal disease (ESRD), in people who did or did not achieve sustained response to hepatitis C treatment using interferon.

The researchers analyzed changes in estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), a method of estimating creatinine clearance. Levels above 90 mL/min/1.73m2 are considered normal, chronic kidney disease was defined as below 60, less than 30 indicates severe kidney impairment, and below 15 indicates ESRD.

The analysis included 3258 Kaiser Permanent Southern California and Mid-Atlantic members diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C between January 2004 and December 2014 who completed at least 4 weeks of treatment with interferon-based therapy, which could include the first-generation direct-acting antivirals boceprevir (Victrelis) or telaprevir (Incivek).

About 60% of patients in the cohort were men and the mean age was approximately 52 years. Nearly half were white, 29% were Hispanic, and 15% were black (a group known to be at higher risk for kidney disease). Over half had hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1, 19% had genotype 2, and 13% had genotype 3. About a quarter had liver cirrhosis, 13% had diabetes, 2% were coinfected with HIV, and 1% also had hepatitis B.

A total of 2383 people with an assessment of sustained virological response at 24 weeks post-treatment (SVR24) were included in the ESRD analysis, and 2127 people with at least 2 measurements were included in the eGFR change analysis. The average follow-up period was about 4 years for both people who were cured and non-responders.


  • Overall, 63% of treated patients achieved SVR using interferon-based therapy.
  • People who achieved SVR had a significantly smaller average annual decline in eGFR compared to those who were not cured (-1.11 vs -2.32 mL/min, respectively).
  • This effect was especially pronounced for people with liver cirrhosis:

o   No cirrhosis: -0.96 vs -1.46 mL/min, respectively;

o   With cirrhosis: -1.58 vs -3.55 mL/min, respectively.

  • 23.2% of non-cirrhotic and 27.7% of cirrhotic patients had a 25% or greater decline in eGFR if they achieved SVR, compared to 27.2% and 41.9%, respectively, if they were not cured.
  • No non-cirrhotic patients and 1.1% of cirrhotic patients progressed to ESRD if they achieved SVR, compared to 2.0% and 3.1%, respectively, without SVR.
  • Adjusted hazard ratios for a 25% or greater decline in eGFR among people with SVR were 0.13 overall and 0.21 for those with cirrhosis.
  • Adjusted hazard ratios for progression to ESRD were 0.85 overall and 0.53 for non-cirrhotic patients.

"SVR reduced the average annual rate of renal decline by half and the risk of ESRD by almost 87%," Rodriguez and colleagues concluded. "This study provides additional evidence that achieving cure of HCV infection with an interferon-based therapy results in extrahepatic benefits."

The researchers noted as a limitation that these results might not be generalizable to people cured with interferon-free direct-acting antiviral therapy, but there is little reason to think these patients would not benefit as well.



CV Rodriguez, JM Arduino, K Rubenstrin, et al. The Impact of Hepatitis C Virus Cure on Progression of Renal Disease. AASLD Liver Meeting. Boston, November 11-15, 2016. Abstract 1946.