Interferon is superior to direct acting antiviral therapy in tertiary prevention of early recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma

Wei Teng, Wen Juei Jeng*, Hwai I. Yang, Wei Ting Chen, Yi Chung Hsieh, Chien Hao Huang, Chen Chun Lin, Chun Yen Lin, Shi Ming Lin, I. Shyan Sheen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

10 Scopus citations


The elimination of chronic hepatitis C infection (CHC) by pegylated interferon plus ribavirin (Peg-IFN/RBV) decreases hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) recurrence rate. However, the tertiary prevention of HCC recurrence by direct acting antiviral agents (DAA) remains controversial. This study aims to compare the tertiary prevention effect between DAA and Peg-IFN/RBV in CHC-HCC patients. Three hundred and one patients who received curative HCC treatment were retrospectively recruited. The recurrence incidence rate (IR) was compared among patients either receiving Peg-IFN/RBV or DAA regimen or untreated by three timeframes (I: from HCC treatment to antiviral therapy; II: during antiviral therapy; III: after antiviral therapy). The prevention effect between Peg-IFN/RBV and DAA were compared in frame II and III after propensity score matching (PSM) with age, tumor staging, HCC treatment modality, and cirrhotic status. Before PSM, the recurrence IRs in three arms were comparable in frame I, while being lower in the Peg-IFN/RBV and DAA arm compared to the untreated arm in frame II. In frame III, the tertiary prevention effect lasted in the Peg-IFN/RBV arm (p < 0.001), but diminished in the DAA arm (p = 0.135) compared to untreated patients. After PSM, the HCC recurrence IR was higher in the DAA arm than the Peg-IFN/RBV arm in frame II (2724 vs. 666 per 104 person-years, log-rank p = 0.042) and III (5259 vs. 3278 per 104 person-years, log-rank p = 0.048). Preantiviral ALBI grade therapy is the only predictor for postantiviral therapy HCC recurrence. In conclusion, the tertiary prevention effect of HCC recurrence was not durable in DAA-treated patients, but persisted in Peg-IFN/RBV treatment patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number23
Issue number1
StatePublished - 01 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Antiviral treatment
  • Early recurrence
  • Propensity score matching


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