Liver Briefs -July 2019

NH Ebel et al. JPGN 2019; 68: 788-92Hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) did not correlate with the risk of complications from portal hypertension in this pediatric cohort (n=41); this is in contrast to studies in adults showing the utility of HVPG measurements.

AG Singal et al. Gastroenterol 2019; 156: 2149-57. AGA Practice Update on Direct-Acting Antivirals for Hepatitis C and Hepatocellular Carcinoma. There are 12 best practice advice –here are the first three:

  • BEST PRACTICE ADVICE 1: DAA treatment is associated with a reduction in the risk of incident HCC. The relative risk reduction is similar in patients with and without cirrhosis.
  • BEST PRACTICE ADVICE 2: Patients with advanced liver fibrosis (F3) or cirrhosis should receive surveillance imaging before initiating DAA treatment.
  • BEST PRACTICE ADVICE 3: Patients with advanced liver fibrosis (F3) or cirrhosis at the time of DAA treatment represent the highest-risk group for HCC after DAA-induced sustained virologic response. These patients should stay in HCC surveillance

N Hamdane et al. Gastroenterol 2019; 156: 2313-29. This study found that chronic HCV infection induced specific genome-wide-changes in H3K27ac which correlated with expression of mRNAs and proteins.  These epigenetic changes persisted after an SVR to DAAs or interferon-based therapies. These changes could explain some of the reason why HCC remains a risk after successful treatment with DAAs.

DT Dieterich et al. Gastroenteroloy & Hepatology 2019; 15S: 3-11 Link: “A simplified algorithm for the management of Hepatitis C Infection”  An excerpt:

“The algorithm begins with universal HCV screening and diagnosis by testing for HCV antibody with reflex to polymerase chain reaction to detect HCV RNA. The pretreatment evaluation uses platelet-based stratification to initially assess fibrosis, and the pan-genotypic regimens glecaprevir/pibrentasvir or sofosbuvir/velpatasvir are recommended for treatment. Unless clinically indicated, on-treatment monitoring is optional. Confirmation of cure (undetectable HCV RNA 12 weeks posttreatment) is followed by harm-reduction measures, as well as surveillance for hepatocellular carcinoma every 6 months in patients with advanced fibrosis/cirrhosis.”  My take: This algorithm is much simpler than the expanded recommendations from HCVguidelines.org website, though these agents, to my knowledge, do not yet have a pediatric indication.

 

Glecaprevir-Pibrentasvir for Hepatitis C Infections

Before discussing one of the newest therapies for Hepatitis C, I wanted to give a shout out to Barbara McElhanon who along with Joanna Lomas-Mevers provided a quick update to our group on their important research to improve the management of encopresis in children with autism spectrum disorders.

Last August, the FDA announced approval of glecaprevir-pibrentasvir as a pangenomic treatment for Hepatitis C (From blog: Eight Week Pangenomic HCV Treatment Approved).

However, it is only in this past two weeks that some of the data from two large randomized, open-label, multicenter trials have been published: Z Zeuzem et al. NEJM 2018; 378: 354-69.  In total, 1208 patients were treated in the “ENDURANCE-1” and “ENDRUANCE-3” trials.

Key findings:

  • For genotype 1-infected patients, glecaprevir-pibrentasvir resulted in a sustained virologic response rate (at week 12) of 99.1% in the 8-week group and 99.7% in the 12-week group.
  • For genotype 3, glecaprevir-pibrentasvir resulted in a sustained virologic response rate (at week 12) of 95% with both 8-week and 12-week treatment.  A comparison group of sofosbuvir-daclatasvir (12 week treatment) resulted in a sustained virologic response rate (at week 12) of 97%.
  • Serious adverse events were rare.  There were three patients who died during the post-treatment period: two from heroin overdoses and one from ethanol intoxication/methadone toxicity.  Headache and fatigue were the most common reported adverse events.
  • There were no relapses among HCV-1-infected patients who were treated for 8 weeks

In addition to these studies, “recent phase 3 trials have shown that an 8-week regimen of glecaprevir-pibrentasvir in patients without cirrhosis” yielded response of 98% for genotype 2 and 93% for genotypes 4, 5, and 6.

My take: These studies indicate that glecaprevir-pibrentasvir is an effective 8-week therapy for patients with HCV infection.  Despite this terrific advance, unless we find a way to address the opioid crisis which is triggering an HCV epidemic, I am not optimistic that there will be an improvement in the number of individuals with HCV infection.

Related blog posts:

Eight Week Pangenomic HCV Treatment Approved

FDA Announcement Aug 3, 2017: FDA approves Mavyret for Hepatitis C

An excerpt:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Mavyret (glecaprevir and pibrentasvir) to treat adults with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes 1-6 without cirrhosis (liver disease) or with mild cirrhosis, including patients with moderate to severe kidney disease and those who are on dialysis. Mavyret is also approved for adult patients with HCV genotype 1 infection who have been previously treated with a regimen either containing an NS5A inhibitor or an NS3/4A protease inhibitor but not both. 

Mavyret is the first treatment of eight weeks duration approved for all HCV genotypes 1-6 in adult patients without cirrhosis who have not been previously treated. Standard treatment length was previously 12 weeks or more.

Related blog posts:

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