Snapshots —Alan Franciscus, Editor-in-Chief

Article:  Improvement of health-related quality of life and work productivity in chronic hepatitis C patients with early and advanced fibrosis treated with ledipasvir and sofosbuvir—ZM Younossi
  Source: J Hepatol.2015 Mar 17. pii: S0168-8278(15)00192-0. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2015.03.014. [Epub ahead of print]

The main goal of HCV treatment is viral eradication or being cured of hepatitis C. However, there are equally important reasons and objectives besides being cured—better overall mental and physical functioning and being able to increase work productivity (and being able to increase income). 

The aim of the current study was to examine what being cured of hepatitis C with sofosbuvir plus ledipasvir with or without ribavirin means with respect to improving health-related quality of life—mainly physical functioning and work productivity.  There were 1,005 patients in the current study that were drawn for the ION-1,2,3 clinical trials.  The patient’s fibrosis stage was determined pretreatment based on the Metavir fibrosis staging system:
Four questionnaires [Chronic Liver Disease Questionnaire-HCV (CLDQ-HCV), Short Form-36 (SF-36), Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Fatigue (FACIT-F), Work Productivity and Activity Index: Specific Health Problem (WPAI:SHP)] were administered at baseline, during, and after treatment.

The Bottom Line:  It is not surprising that patients with the most advanced fibrosis (F4) had the most impairment in health-related quality of life with respect to physical functioning compared to those who were stage F0. 

This continued during and post-treatment.  After being cured there was a significant improvement from baseline in most areas of health-related quality of life regardless of the level of fibrosis stage. 

After analysis, not surprisingly, advanced fibrosis was associated with impairment of health-related quality of life and work productivity. However, it was noted that health-related quality of life and work productivity after being cured was not related to the stage of fibrosis.

Editorial Comment: This is an important study because it proved that curing people of hepatitis C improved physical well-being and work productivity.  I am eager to see more of these types of studies because we all need more information about every aspect of being cured of hepatitis C—this helps people living with hepatitis C to make the treatment decision and it will further justify the expense and need to treat people with hepatitis C.

Abstract: Chronic hepatitis C virus infection and lymphoproliferative disorders: Mixed cryoglobulinemia syndrome, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, and B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma—GP Caviglia
  Source: J Gastroenterol Hepatol.2015 Apr;30(4):742-7. doi: 10.1111/jgh.12837.

The researchers reviewed a study of 1,313 HCV patients who had enrolled in previous studies from January 2006 and December 2013.  There was a total of 121 people with HCV and lymphoproliferative disorders (LPDs) and 130 without LPDs.  The two groups were evenly divided between age and gender.  In the groups with LPDs—25 had mixed cryoglobulinemia (MCS)*; 55 had monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS)**; 41 had B-cell non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (B-HNL)***.  The patients with LPDs did not differ in age, severity of disease, HCV genotype, and response HCV therapy. 

The Bottom Line:  After analyzing the data, it was found that there was an association between MGUS and B-NHL and cirrhosis, but there was no association between MCS and cirrhosis. 

Editorial Comment:  It is interesting that there was a correlation between MGUS and cirrhosis.  However, both conditions typically take many years before serious disease progression occurs.  In regards to MCS it can occur earlier in the course of HCV infection.  Still, it is important that people living with hepatitis C understand this information and talk with their medical providers to be tested for these conditions and for medical providers to make sure they are tested.  If someone infected with hepatitis C does have these serious conditions they may be more likely to qualify for treatment.  It would be, however, best medical and patient practice to nip these and HCV in the bud by treating and curing hepatitis early before any disease or associated condition has a chance to occur. 

*Mixed cryoglobulinemia (MCS) is one of the most common disorders associated with hepatitis C.  Cryoglobulinemia (cryo for short) is a blood disorder caused by abnormal proteins in the blood called cryoglobulins that precipitate or clump together when blood is chilled and then dissolve when warmed.  Cryo can lead to many other disorders. 

**Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) are abnormal proteins in the blood.   They can be associated with another disease (such as hepatitis C).  They rarely cause disease, but in some people with certain conditions, such as hepatitis C, MGUS’s can progress to other diseases. 

***B-cell non-Hodgkin Lymphomas (B-HNL) are cancers of the lymphoid tissues.  The cancers are typically uncommon and usually occur after many years of infection with hepatitis C. 

More detailed information can be found on our fact sheet page.

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