Slower fibrosis progression in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients with successful HIV suppression using antiretroviral therapy

Norbert Bräu, Mirella Salvatore, Carlos F Ríos-Bedoya, Alberto Fernández-Carbia, Fiorenzo Paronetto, José F Rodríguez-Orengo, Maribel Rodríguez-Torres
Journal of Hepatology 2006, 44 (1): 47-55

BACKGROUND/AIMS: HIV/HCV-coinfected patients reportedly have a faster fibrosis progression rate (FPR) than HCV-monoinfected patients. This study examined whether HIV suppression through highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) attenuates this accelerated fibrosis progression.

METHODS: In two hepatitis C centers, a retrospective analysis identified 656 consecutive treatment-naïve HCV-infected patients who had undergone a liver biopsy, had a presumed date of HCV infection, and had been tested for HIV, 274 of them HIV-positive (95.2% on HAART) and 382 HIV-negative. The primary outcome measure was the FPR, defined as Ishak fibrosis score [0-6] over estimated duration of HCV infection.

RESULTS: Among HIV/HCV-coinfected patients, 51.2% had undetectable HIV RNA (< 400 copies/mL). There was no difference in FPR between HIV/HCV-coinfected and HCV-monoinfected patients (0.136 vs. 0.128 Ishak fibrosis units/year, P=0.29). However, HIV/HCV-coinfected patients with any detectable HIV viral load >400 copies/mL had a faster FPR (0.151) than HCV-monoinfected patients (0.128, P=0.015) and than HIV/HCV-coinfected patients with undetectable plasma HIV RNA (0.122, P=0.013) who in turn had the same FPR as HCV-monoinfected subjects (0.128, P=0.52). An accelerated FPR in HIV viremic patients was seen with CD4+ cells <500/mm(3) (0.162 vs. 0.123, undetectable HIV RNA, P=0.005) but not with CD4+ cells >500/mm(3) (0.118 vs. 0.121, P=0.89). In multivariable linear regression analysis of HIV/HCV-coinfected patients, log(10) HIV RNA level, necroinflammation, and age at HCV infection were independently correlated to FPR, but not alcohol use or CD4+ cell count (r(2)=0.45 for model).

CONCLUSIONS: HIV/HCV-coinfected patients with undetectable HIV RNA through HAART have a slower FPR than those with any HIV RNA level and an FPR similar to HCV-monoinfected individuals.

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