Hepatitis C: Does Chemotherapy Cause Viral Relapse?

Harrys A. Torres, MD, FACP Assistant Professor Director of Hepatitis C Clinic Department of Infectious Diseases, Infection Control and Employee Health The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Harrys A. Torres, MD, FACP
Assistant Professor, Director of Hepatitis C Clinic
Department of Infectious Diseases, Infection Control and Employee Health
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Torres: The main findings of the study were that patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection who were successfully treated with antivirals and attained sustained virologic response (SVR) did not have a relapse of HCV infection after receiving immunosuppressive chemotherapy for cancer. Patients in the study received different chemotherapeutic agents, including rituximab and systemic corticosteroids. Durability of SVR was maintained up to 14 years after chemotherapy in cancer patients.

MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Torres: The current data on the durability of SVR are conflicting. Researchers have detected HCV RNA in liver cells and peripheral blood mononuclear cells after achievement of SVR. In theory, administration of cancer chemotherapy should create an immunosuppressive state and facilitate replication of this occult HCV infection. However, none of our HCV-infected patients had a relapse of their infection after chemotherapy.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Torres: Our observational data suggests that successful treatment of HCV infection leads to eradication of virus without relapse after post-SVR chemotherapy.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Torres: A prospective study with a large sample size can be conducted in HCV-infected cancer patients who have attained SVR. Serial HCV RNA levels can be measured during and after chemotherapy to determine HCV relapse.

Citation:

Does Chemotherapy Cause Viral Relapse in Cancer Patients with Hepatitis C Infection Successfully Treated with Antivirals?

Mahale P, Okhuysen PC, Torres HA.

Department of Infectious Diseases, Infection Control and Employee Health, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas; The University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, Texas.

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013 Nov 7. pii: S1542-3565(13)01726-6. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2013.10.034. [Epub ahead of print]