Hepatitis C Reactivation with Chemotherapy

There are a lot of reports describing the potential of adverse outcomes due to hepatitis B reactivation with chemotherapy as well as with treatment of hepatitis C; in addition, there are recommendations to prevent this occurrence (see below). With hepatitis C virus (HCV), the issue of reactivation has not garnered the same type of concern.  A recent study (HA Torres et al. Hepatology 2018; 67: 36-47) indicates that HCV can reactivate with chemotherapy, though this may not result in adverse outcomes. The authors prospectively followed HCV-infected patients receiving cancer therapy from 2012-16.  Reactivation was defined as HCV RNA increase >1 log over baseline and hepatic flare as an increase in ALT >3 times ULN.

Key finding:

  • “Reactivation occurred in 23 (23%)…No patient with reactivation experienced liver failure or liver-related death within 36 weeks after initiation of cancer treatment…most had an unremarkable clinical course.”

Related articleM Persico et al. Hepatology 2018; 67: 48-55.  In the Persico study, the authors examined the association of HCV with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In this observational study, all patients underwent antiviral therapy with sofosbuvir/ledipasvir and chemotherapy.  Compared to a historical control group, the antiviral treatment group had similar overall survival but a significantly higher disease-free survival after 52 weeks.  Thus, the authors note that antiviral treatment combined with chemotherapy, “was shown to be safe and effective in influencing remission of aggressive lymphomas in HCV patients.”

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