Can Therapy of Hepatitis C Affect the Development of Hepatocellular Carcinoma?

Chronic inflammation induced by viral infections and their role in carcinogenesis is well recognized. Two hepatotropic viruses, hepatitis B and hepatitis C (HCV), have been linked worldwide to the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Although orthotopic liver transplant offers the best chance for cure and long-term survival, the demand for organs far outweighs the supply. The incidence of HCC in the United States has increased over the past 3 decades. HCV-induced cirrhosis is believed to play a significant role in the rising rate of HCC. Therefore, primary measures to prevent HCC in HCV-infected patients are urgently needed. Numerous studies of the HCV HCC patient have considered primary treatment with interferon-based therapy. However, secondary prevention currently seems to carry more promise. This article evaluates and assesses various treatments for primary and secondary chemoprevention in the setting of HCV.

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Correspondence: Laura M. Kulik, MD, Assistant Professor, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, 675 North St. Clair Street, Suite 15-250, Chicago, IL 60611. E-mail: LKulik@nmff.org

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