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Concept: Hepatitis C

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Patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and cirrhosis have higher risk for liver-related complications and have historically been more difficult to cure than patients without cirrhosis. We evaluated the safety and efficacy of ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir and dasabuvir, without ribavirin, for 12 weeks in patients with HCV GT1b infection and compensated cirrhosis.

Concepts: Cirrhosis, Hepatitis, Hepatocellular carcinoma, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis C virus, Wilson's disease

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Background A simple treatment regimen that is effective in a broad range of patients who are chronically infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) remains an unmet medical need. Methods We conducted a phase 3, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving untreated and previously treated patients with chronic HCV genotype 1, 2, 4, 5, or 6 infection, including those with compensated cirrhosis. Patients with HCV genotype 1, 2, 4, or 6 were randomly assigned in a 5:1 ratio to receive the nucleotide polymerase inhibitor sofosbuvir and the NS5A inhibitor velpatasvir in a once-daily, fixed-dose combination tablet or matching placebo for 12 weeks. Because of the low prevalence of genotype 5 in the study regions, patients with genotype 5 did not undergo randomization but were assigned to the sofosbuvir-velpatasvir group. The primary end point was a sustained virologic response at 12 weeks after the end of therapy. Results Of the 624 patients who received treatment with sofosbuvir-velpatasvir, 34% had HCV genotype 1a, 19% genotype 1b, 17% genotype 2, 19% genotype 4, 6% genotype 5, and 7% genotype 6. A total of 8% of patients were black, 19% had cirrhosis, and 32% had been previously treated for HCV. The rate of sustained virologic response among patients receiving sofosbuvir-velpatasvir was 99% (95% confidence interval, 98 to >99). Two patients receiving sofosbuvir-velpatasvir, both with HCV genotype 1, had a virologic relapse. None of the 116 patients receiving placebo had a sustained virologic response. Serious adverse events were reported in 15 patients (2%) in the sofosbuvir-velpatasvir group and none in the placebo group. Conclusions Once-daily sofosbuvir-velpatasvir for 12 weeks provided high rates of sustained virologic response among both previously treated and untreated patients infected with HCV genotype 1, 2, 4, 5, or 6, including those with compensated cirrhosis. (Funded by Gilead Sciences; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02201940 .).

Concepts: DNA, Clinical trial, Medical terms, Infection, Hepatitis, Hepatitis C, Placebo, Hepatitis C virus

178

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a leading cause of liver-related morbidity and mortality (1). Transmission of HCV is primarily via parenteral blood exposure, and HCV can be transmitted vertically from mother to child. Vertical transmission occurs in 5.8% (95% confidence interval = 4.2%-7.8%) of infants born to women who are infected only with HCV and in up to twice as many infants born to women who are also infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (2) or who have high HCV viral loads (3,4); there is currently no recommended intervention to prevent transmission of infection from mother to child (3). Increased reported incidence of HCV infection among persons aged ≤30 years (5,6) with similar increases among women and men in this age group (6), raises concern about increases in the number of pregnant women with HCV infection, and in the number of infants who could be exposed to HCV at birth. Data from one large commercial laboratory and birth certificate data were used to investigate trends in HCV detection among women of childbearing age,* HCV testing among children aged ≤2 years, and the proportions of infants born to HCV-infected women nationally and in Kentucky, the state with the highest incidence of acute HCV infection during 2011-2014 (6). During 2011-2014, commercial laboratory data indicated that national rates of HCV detection (antibody or RNA positivity(†)) among women of childbearing age increased 22%, and HCV testing (antibody or RNA) among children aged ≤2 years increased 14%; birth certificate data indicated that the proportion of infants born to HCV-infected mothers increased 68%, from 0.19% to 0.32%. During the same time in Kentucky, the HCV detection rate among women of childbearing age increased >200%, HCV testing among children aged ≤2 years increased 151%, and the proportion of infants born to HCV-infected women increased 124%, from 0.71% to 1.59%. Increases in the rate of HCV detection among women of childbearing age suggest a potential risk for vertical transmission of HCV. These findings highlight the importance of following current CDC recommendations to identify, counsel, and test persons at risk for HCV infection (1,7), including pregnant women, as well as consider developing public health policies for routine HCV testing of pregnant women, and expanding current policies for testing and monitoring children born to HCV-infected women. Expansion of HCV reporting and surveillance requirements will enhance case identification and prevention strategies.

Concepts: Immune system, Pregnancy, Childbirth, Fetus, Infection, Hepatitis C, Mother, Hepatitis C virus

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Hepatitis C is associated with more deaths in the United States than 60 other infectious diseases reported to CDC combined. Despite curative hepatitis C virus (HCV) therapies and known preventive measures to interrupt transmission, new HCV infections have increased in recent years (1,2). Injection drug use is the primary risk factor for new HCV infections (2). One potential strategy to decrease the prevalence of HCV is to create and strengthen public health laws and policies aimed specifically at reducing transmission risks among persons who inject drugs. To evaluate factors affecting access to HCV preventive and treatment services, CDC assessed state laws governing access to safe injection equipment and Medicaid policies related to sobriety requirements for approval of HCV treatment for persons who inject drugs. Acute HCV incidence rates were obtained from CDC’s National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System (NNDSS). States were categorized based on analysis of laws related to access to clean needles and syringes and Medicaid HCV treatment policies associated with sobriety requirements. In 2015, HCV incidence remained high in the United States, with rates in 17 states exceeding the national average. Three states were determined to have state laws and Medicaid policies capable of comprehensively preventing and treating HCV among persons who inject drugs. Opportunities exist for states to adopt laws and policies that could help increase access to HCV preventive and treatment services reducing the number of persons at risk for HCV transmission and disease.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Disease, Infectious disease, Infection, United States, U.S. state, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis C virus

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Genetic variation in the IL28B gene has been strongly associated with treatment outcomes, spontaneous clearance and progression of the hepatitis C virus infection (HCV). The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of polymorphisms at this locus with progression and outcome of HCV infection in a Moroccan population.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Bacteria, Evolution, Virus, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis C virus

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Micro RNAs-371-372-373 (miRNAs-371-373), originating from the same pri-miRNA transcript, are reported to be upregulated in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and to be related to the regulation of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Our study investigated whether pri-miRNAs-371-373 polymorphisms are associated with the risk of HCC occurrence and HBV clearance.

Concepts: DNA, RNA, Infection, Cirrhosis, Hepatitis, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis B virus

170

Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infection is one of the most common etiological factors involved in fibrosis development and its progression to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The pivotal role of hepatic stellate cells (HCSs) and extracellular matrix (ECM) in fibrogenesis is now certainly accepted, while the network of molecular interactions connecting HCV is emerging as a master regulator of several biological processes including proliferation, inflammation, cytoskeleton and ECM remodeling. In this study, the effects of HCV proteins expression on liver cancer cells, both pro-invasive and pro-fibrogenic phenotypes were explored. As a model of HCV infection, we used permissive Huh7.5.1 hepatoma cells infected with JFH1-derived ccHCV. Conditioned medium from these cells was used to stimulate LX-2 cells, a line of HSCs. We found that the HCV infection of Huh7.5.1 cells decreased adhesion, increased migration and caused the delocalization of alpha-actinin from plasma membrane to cytoplasm and increased expression levels of paxillin. The treatment of LX-2 cells, with conditioned medium from HCV-infected Huh7.5.1 cells, caused an increase in cell proliferation, expression of alpha-smooth muscle actin, hyaluronic acid release and apoptosis rate measured as cleaved poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP). These effects were accompanied in Huh7.5.1 cells by an HCV-dependent increasing of FAK activation that physically interacts with phosphorylated paxillin and alpha-actinin, and a rising of tumor necrosis factor alpha production/release. Silencing of FAK by siRNA reverted all effects of HCV infection, both those directed on Huh7.5.1 cells, and those indirect effects on the LX-2 cells. Moreover and interestingly, FAK inhibition enhances apoptosis in HCV-conditioned LX-2 cells. In conclusion, our findings demonstrate that HCV, through FAK activation, may promote cytoskeletal reorganization and a pro-oncogenic phenotype in hepatocyte-like cells, and a fibrogenic phenotype in HSCs.

Concepts: Protein, Gene, Cancer, Signal transduction, Cell membrane, Cirrhosis, Hepatocellular carcinoma, Hepatitis C

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Hepatocellular carcinoma, the most frequent primary hepatic tumor, metastasizes in more than 50% of cases. However, parotid gland metastatic HCCs are very uncommon. We report a patient in whom the finding of a left parotid mass revealed metastatic HCC.

Concepts: Cancer, Oncology, Lung cancer, Cirrhosis, Hepatocellular carcinoma, Hepatitis C, Parotid gland, Warthin's tumor

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BACKGROUND: A higher prevalence of coeliac disease has recently been reported among patients with HCV-related chronic hepatitis. Moreover, development of clinically overt coeliac disease has been described in a number of HCV-related chronic hepatitis patients during alpha-interferon therapy. This prospective study was designed to evaluate 1) the prevalence of coeliac disease in patients with HCV-related chronic hepatitis; 2) the prevalence of HCV infection in patients with coeliac disease; 3) whether PEG interferon-alpha treatment might favour the development of coeliac disease in patients with chronic hepatitis C.Materials and methodsTwo hundred-ten consecutive patients (M/F = 140/70, range of age 35–58 years, median age 46.5 years) with biopsy proven chronic hepatitis C underwent serological screening for antiendomysial and tissue transglutaminase IgA antibodies. One hundred ninety-four coeliac patients (M/F = 52/142, range of age 18–74 years, median age 34 years) were screened for HCV antibodies. Positivity for HCV antibodies in coeliac disease patients was confirmed by detection of serum HCV-RNA by RT-PCR. This work was carried out in accordance to ethical guidelines of Declaration of Helsinki and was approved by Institutional Ethics Committee of the Second University of Naples. All patients gave informed written consent. RESULTS: 1) none of the 210 HCV-related chronic hepatitis patients were positive for coeliac disease serologic screening; 2) prevalence of HCV infection among coeliac patients was 1.54% (3/194) which is comparable to that reported in the Southern Italy population; 3) PEG interferon-alpha treatment was not associated with development of coeliac disease either clinical or serological. CONCLUSIONS: 1) coeliac disease is not associated with HCV infection; 2) PEG interferon-alpha does not trigger celiac disease.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Osteoporosis, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, Coeliac disease, Anti-transglutaminase antibodies, Tissue transglutaminase

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BACKGROUND: Oral lichen planus (OLP) is seen frequently in patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. The aim of this study was to evaluate the occurrence of oral candidiasis, other mucosal lesions, and xerostomia during interferon (IFN) therapy for HCV infection. METHODS: Of 124 patients with HCV-infected liver diseases treated with IFN therapy in our hospital, 14 (mean age 56.00 +/- 12.94 years) who attended to receive administration of IFN once a week were identified and examined for Candida infection and other oral lesions and for the measurement of salivary flow. Serological assays also were carried out. RESULTS: Cultures of Candida from the tongue surfaces were positive in 7 (50.0%) of the 14 patients with HCV infection at least once during IFN therapy. C. albicans was the most common species isolated. The incidence of Candida during treatment with IFN did not increase above that before treatment. Additional oral mucosal lesions were observed in 50.0% (7/14) of patients: OLP in three (21.4%), angular cheilitis in three (21.4%) and recurrent aphthous stomatitis in one (7.1%). OLP occurred in one patient before treatment with IFN, in one during treatment and in one at the end of treatment. 85.7% of the oral lesions were treated with topical steroids. We compared the characteristics of the 7 patients in whom Candida was detected at least once during IFN therapy (group 1) and the 7 patients in whom Candida was not detected during IFN therapy (group 2). The prevalence of oral mucosal lesions (P=0.0075) and incidence of external use of steroids (P=0.0308) in group 1 were significantly higher than in group 2. The average body weight of group 1 decreased significantly compared to group 2 (P=0.0088). Salivary flow decreased in all subjects throughout the course of IFN treatment and returned at 6th months after the end of treatment. In group 1, the level of albumin at the beginning of the 6th month of IFN administration was lower than in group 2 (P=0.0550). According to multivariate analysis, one factor, the presence of oral mucosal lesions, was associated with the detection of Candida. The adjusted odds ratio for the factor was 36.00 (95% confidence interval 2.68-1485.94). CONCLUSION: We should pay more attention to oral candidiasis as well as other oral mucosal lesions, in patients with weight loss during IFN treatment.

Concepts: Interferon, Hepatitis C, Candida albicans, Candidiasis, Aphthous ulcer, Oral pathology, Lichen planus, Stomatitis