Maintenance ribavirin monotherapy delays fibrosis progression in liver transplant recipients with recurrent hepatitis C at high risk of progression

Raffaella Lionetti, Giuseppe Tisone, Giampiero Palmieri, Cristiana Almerighi, Alessandra Anselmo, Laura Tariciotti, Ilaria Lenci, Linda De Luca, Andrea Monaco, Mario Angelico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Fibrosis in liver transplant recipients with recurrent HCV is fast, yet, different patterns of progression are recognized. Aims: To investigate histological findings associated with maintenance ribavirin monotherapy in patients with recurrent HCV transplanted ≥4 years earlier. Methods: 14 recipients at high risk of progression (fibrosis progression rate >0.33 units/year and/or persistently elevated ALT) were assigned to receive ribavirin for 3 years. 11 patients at lower risk of progression (FPR ≤0.33 units/year and normal ALT) as controls. Biopsies were obtained yearly since transplant and 7 consecutive biopsies were evaluated. Results: Improved necroinflammation (reduction ≥2 grading) was observed in 7 treated with ribavirin and 3 untreated patients, while 1 and 3 patients worsened respectively. Fibrosis improved (reduction >1 staging) in 2 ribavirin-treated patients, unchanged in 10 and worsened (increase ≥1 staging) in 2. Fibrosis progression decreased from 0.48 ± 0.27 observed during the 3-year pre-treatment period to 0.04 ± 0.31 units/year (p = 0.003) during the 3 years of ribavirin. Among untreated fibrosis remained unchanged in 1 and worsened in 10 (p <0.001), yearly fibrosis progression rate increasing from 0.15 ± 0.17 units/year to 0.42 ± 0.39 units/year (p = 0.10). Conclusions: Maintenance ribavirin monotherapy delays fibrosis progression in high risk patients, offering an alternative strategy for those failing to respond to conventional treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-303
Number of pages7
JournalDigestive and Liver Disease
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010



  • Disease recurrence
  • Grading
  • Graft
  • Immunosuppression
  • Staging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Hepatology

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