Hepatitis C virus infection is a major cause of chronic hepatitis resulting in cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The recent introduction of direct acting antivirals (DAA), results in sustained virological response (SVR) rates of >90% in treated patients whatever the stage of liver fibrosis with an excellent safety profile. This major advancement has allowed treatment of a larger number of patients, some with more advanced liver dysfunction and a higher risk of HCC. An SVR is associated with a reduced risk of hepatic decompensation, the need for liver transplantation and both liver‐related and overall mortality. This high rate of SVR has raised hopes that there would be a significant reduction in the incidence of HCC. However, the impact of DAA‐based regimens on the occurrence of HCC in patients with cirrhosis, and in particular the recurrence of HCC following successful curative treatment is controversial. Published studies suggest that DAA does not increase the risk of de novo HCC following SVR. A more controversial topic is the effect of a DAA‐based SVR on the recurrence of HCC following curative treatment of early HCC. Well‐designed studies with robust comparisons are needed to determine the effect of DAA on the recurrence of HCC. At present, patients with HCV cirrhosis who have undergone resection or ablation for HCC should not be dissuaded from receiving DAA therapy to prevent the progression of liver disease. Monitoring for HCC with liver imaging and AFP should be performed twice a year indefinitely post‐SVR in patients with HCV cirrhosis.
cirrhosis, direct acting antivirals, hepatitis C, hepatocellular carcinoma