Direct-Acting Antivirals Reduce HCV-Related Cellular Changes

Patients who achieved hepatitis C virus eradication experienced a reduction in hepatic steatosis and fibrosis.

Chronic infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) affects an estimated 180 million patients worldwide and has been associated with both chronic liver diseases and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a type of liver cancer. Although these sequelae are most often attributed to HCV’s effects on the immune system, some of the long-term changes are believed to occur at the cellular level.

Two cellular changes than have been directly linked to HCV infection are hepatic steatosis, or fatty changes, and hepatic fibrosis, or liver stiffness resulting from scar formation, within the liver. Hepatic steatosis and fibrosis can both lead to cirrhosis and, eventually, liver cancer or death.

With the introduction of direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) for the treatment of HCV, more patients are able to achieve a cure, also termed a viral eradication, with shorter treatment duration and fewer side effects. To date, there has been only 1 study into the effect of viral eradication using interferon-based HCV therapy on the development of hepatic steatosis in patients with genotype 3 infection.

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