Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hepatitis C may increase deaths from both liver-related and other diseases

Date:
July 18, 2012
Source:
Infectious Diseases Society of America
Summary:
In a long-term study of people infected with the hepatitis C virus, researchers found increased deaths from both liver-related and non-liver related diseases in patients with active infections who had not cleared their infection.

In a long-term study of people infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV), researchers found increased deaths from both liver-related and non-liver related diseases in patients with active infections who had not cleared their infection.

The study, published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases and available online, found increased mortality in patients with chronic HCV infection -- that is, with detectable levels of HCV genetic material, or RNA, in their blood -- suggesting that chronic HCV infections, even in people who have no symptoms, can lead to increased mortality from liver disease or a variety of other causes. The findings highlight the importance of people getting tested for HCV antibodies and for active HCV infection -- and of evaluating patients for antiviral treatment when they are found to have an active HCV infection, even when they feel well.

HCV infects more than 170 million people globally and has been shown to cause such liver diseases as cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Many infected patients have no symptoms and are not aware of infection until after irreversible liver disease has occurred. In addition, several diseases not related to the liver have been linked to HCV. However, nearly two-thirds of patients can be cured of their HCV infection with currently available antiviral therapy.

Chien-Jen Chen, ScD, and researchers from the Genomic Research Center in Taipei, Taiwan, enrolled more than 23,000 adults in Taiwan in their study and followed them from 1991 to 2008. Blood samples were collected at study entry and at follow-up health examinations. Researchers found increased mortality from liver- and non-liver-related diseases -- including cancers of the esophagus, prostate, and thyroid, as well as circulatory and renal diseases -- among those infected with HCV. Mortality was higher in HCV-infected participants with detectable serum levels of HCV RNA, indicating they had active infections; subjects with previous infections who only had HCV antibodies, but not HCV RNA, in their blood did not have increased mortality on follow-up.

According to Dr. Chen, "The findings implied that the serum HCV RNA level is an important marker for clinical decisions in the management of HCV-infected patients." Dr. Chen suggested that HCV-infected patients may benefit from treatment with antiviral and immunomodulating agents to promote viral clearance.

The investigators concluded that their findings have significant implications for clinical practice and public health -- namely, that individuals seropositive for HCV RNA should be followed intensively and urged to be evaluated for antiviral therapy. In addition, they noted, testing to determine serum HCV RNA level by a sensitive assay is essential for clinical management of HCV-infected patients.

Dr. Chen and his colleagues cautioned that some non-liver-related diseases are too rare to accurately determine their risk in connection with HCV infection. They suggested that a collaborative study with a large sample size would be needed in order to further investigate the full spectrum of diseases associated with HCV.

In an accompanying editorial, Kenrad E. Nelson, MD, of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, noted that overall mortality was significantly increased from liver-related and other causes compared to uninfected patients from the same communities in the study. The findings indicate that, although some who are infected with HCV can cure their infection without treatment, most people who are infected and who have no symptoms develop chronic infections and are at increased risk of death from HCV, Dr. Nelson said.

Many patients with HCV infection go undiagnosed, and among those whose infection is detected, "few are medically evaluated and effectively treated," Dr. Nelson added. Although treatment for HCV infection is improving dramatically, he noted, a significant reduction in HCV-related mortality will require that screening measures are greatly expanded.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Infectious Diseases Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Mei-Hsuan Lee, Hwai-I. Yang, Sheng-Nan Lu, Chin-Lan Jen, San-Lin You, Li-Yu Wang, Chih-Hao Wang, Wei J. Chen, Chien-Jen Chen, and for the R.E.V.E.A.L.-HCV Study Group. Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection Increases Mortality From Hepatic and Extrahepatic Diseases: A Community-Based Long-Term Prospective Study. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2012; DOI: 10.1093/infdis/jis385
  2. Kenrad E. Nelson. The Impact of Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection on Mortality. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2012; DOI: 10.1093/infdis/jis394

Cite This Page:

Infectious Diseases Society of America. "Hepatitis C may increase deaths from both liver-related and other diseases." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120718073938.htm>.
Infectious Diseases Society of America. (2012, July 18). Hepatitis C may increase deaths from both liver-related and other diseases. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120718073938.htm
Infectious Diseases Society of America. "Hepatitis C may increase deaths from both liver-related and other diseases." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120718073938.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Carpenter's Injury Leads To Hundreds Of 3-D-Printed Hands

Carpenter's Injury Leads To Hundreds Of 3-D-Printed Hands

Newsy (Apr. 14, 2014) Richard van As lost all fingers on his right hand in a woodworking accident. Now, he's used the incident to create a prosthetic to help hundreds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins