BACKGROUND: International guidelines suggest hepatitis C virus (HCV) eradication by direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) after first-line immunochemotherapy (I-CT) in patients with HCV-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), although limited experiences substantiate this recommendation. Moreover, only a few data concerning concurrent administration of DAAs with I-CT have been reported.
SUBJECTS, MATERIALS, AND METHODS: We analyzed hematological and virological outcome and survival of 47 consecutive patients with HCV-positive DLBCL treated at 23 Italian and French centers with DAAs either concurrently (concurrent cohort [ConC]: n = 9) or subsequently (sequential cohort [SeqC]: n = 38) to first-line I-CT (mainly rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone [R-CHOP]-like).
RESULTS: Median age was 61 years, 89% of patients had stage III/IV, and 25% presented evidence of cirrhosis. Genotype was 1 in 56% and 2 in 34% of cases. Overall, 46 of 47 patients obtained complete response to I-CT. All patients received appropriate DAAs according to genotype, mainly sofosbuvir-based regimens (n = 45). Overall, 45 patients (96%) achieved sustained virological response, 8 of 9 in ConC and 37 of 38 in SeqC. DAAs were well tolerated, with only 11 patients experiencing grade 1-2 adverse events. Twenty-three patients experienced hepatic toxicity (grade 3-4 in seven) following I-CT in SeqC, compared to only one patient in ConC. At a median follow-up of 2.8 years, two patients died (2-year overall survival, 97.4%) and three progressed (2-year progression-free survival, 93.1%).
CONCLUSION: Excellent outcome of this cohort of HCV-positive DLBCL suggests benefit of HCV eradication by DAAs either after or during I-CT. Moreover, concurrent DAAs and R-CHOP administration appeared feasible, effective, and ideally preferable to deferred administration of DAAs for the prevention of hepatic toxicity.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Hepatitis C virus (HCV)-associated diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCLs) represent a great therapeutic challenge, especially in terms of hepatic toxicity during immune-chemotherapy (I-CT) and long-term hepatic complications. The advent of highly effective and toxicity-free direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) created an exciting opportunity to easily eradicate HCV shortly after or in concomitance with first-line immunochemotherapy (usually R-CHOP). This retrospective international study reports the real-life use of the combination of these two therapeutic modalities either in the concurrent or sequential approach (DAAs after I-CT) in 47 patients. The favorable reported results on long-term outcome seem to support the eradication of HCV with DAAs in all patients with HCV-positive DLBCL. Moreover, the results from the concurrent approach were effective and safe and displayed an advantage in preventing hepatic toxicity during I-CT.