February 26, 2019 – Hepatitis C and Cancer
Anchor lead: Treating hepatitis C results in lots of benefits, Elizabeth Tracey reports
Effective treatment for hepatitis C reduces both acute liver inflammation as well as subsequent liver cancer, a recent study found. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, describes the findings.
Nelson: This is a cohort study in France looking at a bunch of treatment centers. This is an observational study. They were following a group of people with chronic hepatitis C. Three quarters of them went on one of these antiviral medications and what you found is that people who took them were substantially less likely, 52% less likely to die generally in the observation period which was about 30 months and there was a 34% reduction in liver cancer. So treating chronic hepatitis with antivirals you get rid of that chronic hepatitis it substantially reduces the risk for liver cancer. :31
Nelson says while these treatments are currently expensive, more of them are being developed and will bring the price down. He says that juxtaposed against treatment for liver cancer, they are quite cost effective even now. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.