Long-term outcome of hepatitis C infection after bone marrow transplantation

Régis Peffault de Latour, Vincent Lévy, Tarik Asselah, Patrick Marcellin, Catherine Scieux, Lionel Adès, Richard Traineau, Agnès Devergie, Patricia Ribaud, Hélène Espérou, Eliane Gluckman, Dominique Valla and Gérard Socié


Chronic hepatitis C is often asymptomatic, at least during the first decade following hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Progression to advanced liver disease or cirrhosis in patients surviving more than 10 years is currently thought to be rare. Among 1078 patients who underwent an allogeneic transplantation between January 1973 and January 1995, 96 patients infected by hepatitis C virus (HCV) during the transplantation period were studied. Cumulative incidence and analysis of risk factors for cirrhosis were analyzed, and the rate and risk of cirrhosis in transplant recipients were compared with those of 158 HCV-infected controls who did not receive transplants. At a median follow-up of 15.7 years, 15 patients developed biopsy-proven cirrhosis, leading to a cumulative incidence of cirrhosis of 11% and 24% at 15 and 20 years, respectively. By multivariate analysis, extrahepatic HCV manifestations and HCV genotype 3 were associated with risk of cirrhosis. The median time to cirrhosis in transplant recipients was 18 years as compared with 40 years in the control population. The risk of cirrhosis in transplant recipients relative to controls was significantly higher by multivariate analysis (P = .0008). Roughly a quarter of long-term HCV-infected survivors with transplants progressed to cirrhosis that is much more rapid than in patients without transplants. Systematic detection of HCV infection, liver biopsy, and therapeutic intervention are therefore warranted in long-term marrow transplant recipients.

  • Submitted July 1, 2003.
  • Accepted October 15, 2003.
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