Neil Osterweil

November 04, 2016

BOSTON — Shortening the length of curative regimens for hepatitis C treatment will be one of the hot topics here at The Liver Meeting 2016.

One study likely to garner significant interest examines an investigational conjugated drug (RG-101) that, used in combination with oral direct-acting antivirals, can produce high rates of sustained responses after just 4 weeks of therapy in patients with genotypes 1 and 4 hepatitis C.

And in a study looking at the link between hepatitis C and cancer, investigators will present data on the incidence and pattern of de novo hepatocellular carcinoma in patients treated with oral direct-acting antiviral agents.

"We've moved away from a single, one-size-fits-all program into something that's more customizable for the audience," said Keith Lindor, MD, from Arizona State University in Phoenix, who is president of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD).

"We've tried hard to make this a very user-friendly meeting," Dr Lindor told Medscape Medical News. "We have created convenient times for special interest groups to meet, and we've moved the posters away from Tuesday morning [the final day of the meeting], so that morning will be filled with highlights from the meeting and a late-breaking abstracts session."

Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis and Fatty Liver Disease

Two common and difficult-to-treat problems — nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) — will be the focus of several abstracts, including one with the self-explanatory title of, Not Just What, but Also When You Eat: Analyzing the Impact of Meal Timing Patterns on Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.

The troubling trend toward NASH and advanced fibrosis in adolescents with NAFLD in the United States will be examined in another presentation, and a third study will look at the increased risk for cirrhosis in first-degree relatives of patients with NAFLD cirrhosis.

Investigators will also present data from a nationwide retrospective study on the impact of statins on mortality in patients with compensated or decompensated alcoholic cirrhosis.

And a risk-prediction model — an especially valuable tool in orthotopic liver transplantation — will be presented for portal vein thrombosis in patients on the transplant list.

Plan ahead, advises Oren Fix, MD, Swedish Organ Transplant and Liver Center in Seattle, who is chair of the AASLD training and workforce committee, in his Beginner's Guide to the Liver Meeting.

"There will inevitably be simultaneous sessions that you want to attend and you'll have to make choices," he points out.

Again this year, the postgraduate course — Challenges in Management of Common Liver Diseases — will be presented on Saturday, and Friday will feature a basic science symposium in liver immunology.

The Liver Meeting has always been a bit more buttoned-down than other meetings, but attendees still know how to have a good time and will enjoy the sights and sounds of Boston, New England's largest and most cosmopolitan city with a young vibe but small-town feel.

Meeting attendees can share photos on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, using #LiverSnaps. A prize will be awarded each day for the winning photo, and a grand prize winner of the social media photo contest will be announced at the end of the meeting.

One of the great pleasures of this meeting is seeing old colleagues and making new friends, said Dr Lindor. And Boston is "one of my favorite places for the Liver Meeting," he added.

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