Genetic Marker Can Determine Cirrhosis Patients Who Do Not Benefit From Hepatitis C Cure Interview with:

Dr. Winston Dunn, MD Assistant Professor The University of Kansas Medical Center

Dr. Dunn

Dr. Winston Dunn, MD
Assistant Professor
The University of Kansas Medical Center What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: It is widely believed that everyone with HCV can be cured with the medications now a day. But sadly, about 5% of the patients already have very bad damage done to the liver. We call this decompensated cirrhosis. Our medication is still very effective in curing the virus, but in decompensated cirrhosis, curing the virus is not always enough.

Only about half to two-thirds of patients with decompensated cirrhosis clinically gets better, but the remaining struggles along or even gets worse after the cure. That is the problem. So, our research was to understand why that was.

We used genetic factor to predict which patient would get better and which patient would not. We found that a gene previous found to be predictive of fatty liver and fibrosis is also predictive of recovery in this setting. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: The take home message is that for patients with early disease, all patients recover after treatment of hepatitis C. For patients who already have extensive liver damage, that is decompensated cirrhosis, not all patients recover. Our study is starting to unravel the mystery of why some patients recover and some continue to get worse despite curing their hepatitis C What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: We are going to look for additional genetic markers that can predict recovery. We are also going to explore the mechanism of how this fatty liver gene affects recovery. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: The most important lesson from our research at this point is that once a patient develops extensive liver damage, they may not recover, and we don’t have yet a reliable model to predict recovery at this time. Therefore always treat hepatitis C early. Anyone who proposes delaying treatment until patients get sicker is certainly wrong. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


DDW 2017 abstract:
Rs738409 SNP of PNPLA3 Gene Predicts Clinical Recovery in Patients with Decompensated Hepatitis C Cirrhosis After Attaining Sustained Virological Response

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on May 10, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD