Extrahepatic manifestations of Hepatitis C Virus infection: a general overview and guidelines for a clinical approach

A L Zignego, C Ferri, S A Pileri, P Caini, F B Bianchi
Digestive and Liver Disease 2007, 39 (1): 2-17
Hepatitis C Virus is associated with a wide series of extrahepatic manifestations. Based on available data the link between the virus and some of these extrahepatic diseases is only suggested and needs further confirmation. Hepatitis C Virus-related lymphoproliferative disorders, whose prototype is mixed cryoglobulinaemia, represent the most closely related extrahepatic manifestations of Hepatitis C Virus. Other Hepatitis C Virus-associated disorders include nephropathies, thyreopathies, sicca syndrome, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, porphyria cutanea tarda, lichen planus, diabetes, chronic polyarthritis, cardiopathy and atherosclerosis. A pathogenetic link between Hepatitis C Virus and some extrahepatic manifestations was confirmed by their responsiveness to antiviral therapy, which is now deemed the first therapeutic option to consider. By contrast, there are diseases where treatment with interferon was ineffective or dangerous. The aim of the present paper is to outline the most recent evidence concerning extrahepatic disorders that are possibly associated with Hepatitis C Virus infection. Special emphasis will be given to discussion of the most appropriate clinical approaches to be adopted in order to diagnose, treat (possibly prevent) and follow-up extrahepathic diseases in patients with Hepatitis C Virus infection.

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