Background: Although studies suggest decreased incident hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after direct-acting antivirals (DAA), data are conflicting regarding HCC recurrence and aggressiveness in patients who have a history of HCC with complete response. Aim: Characterize HCC recurrence patterns after DAA therapy. Methods: Two reviewers searched MEDLINE and SCOPUS from January 2015 to December 2017 and identified studies evaluating HCC recurrence patterns following DAA therapy. A pooled estimate was calculated using the DerSimonian and Laird method for a random effects model. The study was conducted in accordance with PRISMA guidelines. Results: Among 24 studies (n = 1820 patients), the proportion of patients with HCC recurrence following DAA therapy ranged from 0% to 59% (pooled estimate 24.4%; 95% CI: 18.4%-30.4%). Among 11 full text manuscripts, pooled HCC recurrence was 21.9% (95% CI: 16.2%-28.3%). Factors associated with recurrence included history of prior HCC recurrence and a shorter interval between HCC complete response and DAA initiation. Nine studies comparing DAA-treated and interferon-treated or untreated patients found similar recurrence among DAA-treated patients. Most (77.8%) patients with HCC recurrence were detected at an early tumour stage, of whom 64.7% received curative treatment. Study limitations included heterogeneous cohorts, potential misclassification of HCC absence prior to DAA, ascertainment bias for recurrence, and short durations of follow-up. Conclusions: Current data suggest acceptable HCC recurrence rates after DAA therapy, particularly if DAA therapy is delayed at least 6 months after HCC complete response. However, data characterising HCC recurrence after DAA therapy are of limited quality, highlighting the need for high quality prospective studies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)