Hepatitis C Virus Relapse After Successful Treatment With Direct-acting Antivirals, Followed by Sarcomatous Changes in Hepatocellular Carcinoma

A Case Report

Ken Kurokawa; Takamasa Ohki; Jun Kato; Yukiyo Fukumura; Makoto Imai; Chikako Shibata; Junya Arai; Mayuko Kondo; Kaoru Takagi; Kentaro Kojima; Michiharu Seki; Masaya Mori; Nobuo Toda; Kazumi Tagawa

Disclosures

J Med Case Reports. 2020;14(62) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Abstract

Background: Combination therapy of interferon and ribavirin has traditionally been used to eradicate hepatitis C virus. The sustained virologic response achieved with interferon-related therapy is persistent, and late relapses after achieving sustained virologic response at 24 weeks using this therapy are reportedly rare (< 1%). In 2014, interferon-free therapy with direct-acting antivirals was developed, and the rate of sustained virologic response was improved. However, the persistence thereof remains uncertain, and the appropriate follow-up period for hepatitis C virus-positive patients is under discussion.

Case presentation: A 74-year-old Japanese man who had hepatitis C virus–related hepatocellular carcinoma and was successfully treated with radiofrequency ablation four times underwent direct-acting antiviral therapy with daclatasvir and asunaprevir; sustained virologic response at 24 weeks was confirmed. However, although he had no high risk factors for reinfection, hepatitis C virus ribonucleic acid was detected again 6 months after achieving sustained virologic response at 24 weeks. Moreover, he developed active hepatitis with an increased viral load. Five months after development of hepatitis, recurrent hepatocellular carcinoma emerged in segment II, where we had performed radiofrequency ablation 17 months previously. The recurrent hepatocellular carcinoma enlarged quite rapidly and induced multiple peritoneal disseminations and lung metastases. He died 3 months after the abrupt recurrence. A sarcomatous change in the hepatocellular carcinoma was identified during the autopsy.

Conclusions: Although sustained virologic response at 24 weeks has generally been regarded to denote complete eradication of hepatitis C virus, we present a patient in whom hepatitis C virus recurred 6 months after achieving sustained virologic response at 24 weeks with direct-acting antiviral therapy. In addition, a sarcomatous change in hepatocellular carcinoma emerged 5 months after active hepatitis developed due to late hepatitis C virus relapse in this case. The sarcomatous change in hepatocellular carcinoma is generally thought to be related to anticancer therapies, such as radiofrequency ablation. However, in this case, late viral relapse and active hepatitis in addition to the previous radiofrequency ablation could have been the trigger. There may be a need for follow-up of hepatitis C virus ribonucleic acid beyond sustained virologic response at 24 weeks with direct-acting antiviral therapy, owing to the possibility of late viral relapse and tumorigenesis.

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