More prospective studies are needed to characterize fibrosis improvement in patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) who are treated with direct-acting antivirals (DAAs). The aims of this study were to assess changes in elastography scores from baseline to 1-year follow-up in patients with HCV, to identify factors that were independently associated with improvement in fibrosis staging in patients who receive treatment, and to identify factors that were independently associated with no improvement in fibrosis staging among patients who achieved sustained virologic responses (SVR).
Ultrasound elastography and laboratory tests were performed and collected at baseline and at 1-year follow-up for patients who received HCV treatment and for those who did not receive treatment (n = 240). Binomial logistic regression was used to examine factors that were independently associated with improvement in fibrosis staging.
In patients who achieved SVR, the mean fibrosis score decreased significantly (−1.3) from 7.4 (2.3) before treatment to 6.1 (2.0) after treatment (P = 0.00). In multivariate analysis of patients who received treatment, higher pre-treatment fibrosis stages [odds ratio (OR) = 13.02, P < 0.00] were positively associated with improvement in fibrosis staging at 1-year follow-up. Higher BMI (OR = 0.93, P < 0.05) was negatively associated with improvement in fibrosis staging.
This study supports the growing body of literature that suggests fibrosis regression is achievable in a significant number of patients who achieve SVR with all-oral DAA regimens. Equally important, fibrosis regression is more likely to occur in patients with advanced stages of fibrosis and less likely in patients who are obese.