The efficacy and safety of direct-acting antiviral agents (DAAs) were evaluated in a cohort of prospectively enrolled patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related mixed cryoglobulinaemia (MC), an immune complex-mediated vasculitis of small and medium vessels in which the pathogenetic role of HCV has been clearly established.
Twenty-two patients received DAAs. Clinical and laboratory features were recorded at baseline, every 4 weeks until the end of treatment (EoT), and 12 weeks afterwards. Primary efficacy endpoints were (a) sustained virological response 12 weeks after therapy completion (SVR12), (b) regression of symptomatology (clinical response) and (c) cryoglobulin disappearance or cryocrit reduction ≥50% (immunological response). Complete response (CR) was defined as the occurrence of all three primary endpoints; partial response (PR) was defined as the occurrence of SVR12, with or without either immunological or clinical response; and no response was defined as missing the achievement of all three endpoints.
All patients reached SVR12. Compared with basal values, mean cryocrit values were significantly decreased at EoT and SVR12. A significant reduction of alanine transaminase and a parallel increase of complement component C4 levels were also detected. Rheumatoid factor activity was significantly reduced at EoT but not at SVR12. At SVR12, a CR was established in 14 patients (63.7%) and a PR in 8 patients (36.3%). In one patient with small lymphocytic lymphoma, the tumour progressed despite viral clearance. Mild adverse events were recorded in nine patients (40.9%).
The response rates induced by the use of DAAs in patients with MC were remarkably higher than those previously achieved with pegylated interferon-α/ribavirin, with or without rituximab. A much longer follow-up is desirable to achieve useful information in terms of persistent viral clearance and clinical response.
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- Direct-acting antiviral agents in the therapy of hepatitis C virus-related mixed cryoglobulinaemia: a single-centre experience
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