The future of liver transplantation for viral hepatitis


In hepatitis C virus ( HCV )- infected patients, transplantation can be justified by decompensated cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma ( HCC ) or both. During the last decade, HCV infection accounted for about 30% of the indications for transplantation in Europe and North America. Direct antiviral agents ( DAA s) are highly effective at curing HCV , even in patients with end- stage cirrhosis. In the future, the incidence of HCV – related decompensated cirrhosis will continue to decrease. The incidence of HCC will also decrease, but a large cohort of patients with cirrhosis will still be at risk of developing HCC even after HCV has been cured. They will continue to represent potential candidates for transplantation. Overall, HCV will account for a significantly lower propor tion of indications for transplantation in the future. However, generalization of DAA s is unlikely to affect the total transplantation volume as the gap between donors and potential recipients markedly exceeds 30%. In addition, non- alcoholic steatohepa- titis ( NASH ) is a rapidly growing indication for transplantation. The high barrier to resistance nucleos(t)ide analogues ( NUC s) have been used for several years to treat hepatitis B virus ( HBV ) infection. Decompensated HBV cirrhosis now represents a very uncommon indication for transplantation. HCC remains the leading indication in HBV – infected patients awaiting transplantation. NUC s plus anti- HB s immune globulins or NUC s alone are highly effective at preventing post- transplant HBV recurrence. However, continuous prophylaxis is still needed as extrahepatic HBV particles persist with a potential for recurrence. Post- transplant immunosuppression facilitates recurrence. In the future, an important challenge will be to cure HBV by eliminating residual HBV particles

direct antiviral agents , hepatitis C virus , hepatocellular carcinoma , non-alcoholic steatohepatitis