Aberrant squamous cell carcinoma antigen (SCCA) expression is an early event in hepatocarcinogenesis, and increasing serum levels of SCCA variants IgM immune complexes (SCCA-IgM IC) have been found in cirrhotic patients developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We longitudinally evaluated a cohort of cirrhotic patients with hepatitis C virus infection (HCV) who underwent pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) and ribavirin treatment. SCCA-IgM IC levels were assessed in the sera of 33 cirrhotic patients with HCV (21 males, median age 57 years) before, at the end and at 6-month and 1-year follow-up after treatment with PEG-IFN and ribavirin. SCCA-IgM IC serum levels (arbitrary units/mL, AU/mL) were evaluated according to treatment outcome: sustained virological response (SVR) vs nonresponse (NR). Overall, 15 patients obtained a SVR to antiviral therapy (45%). There was no significant difference in baseline SCCA-IgM IC serum levels between SVR and NR patients. When compared to baseline (451.2 AU/mL), SVR patients showed a significant decrease in median SCCA-IgM IC serum levels at the end of treatment (186.8 AU/mL, P = 0.013) and at both 6-month (96.8 AU/mL, P <0.001) and 1-year follow-up (52.4 AU/mL, P <0.001), while no significant modification was observed in NR patients. In patients with HCV-related liver cirrhosis, successful antiviral therapy is associated with a dramatic and significant decrease in SCCA-IC serum levels. Because of the pathophysiological correlation between SCCA and liver carcinogenesis, it is hypothesized that in patients with liver cirrhosis, SVR may be accompanied by a decreased proliferative stimulation.
- hepatitis C virus
- squamous cell carcinoma antigen
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases