Background: The influence of direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy for chronic hepatitis C virus on the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is conflicting.
Methods: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine the incidence or recurrence of HCC associated with oral DAA therapy. We searched PubMed, Scopus, Embase from inception to August 2017 to identify observational studies reporting on HCC among patients treated with DAAs. Two independent reviewers extracted data and assessed the risk of bias. Data were pooled by random-effects model. The primary outcome was the proportion of participants with incidence or recurrence of HCC (PROSPERO number CRD42017057040).
Results: After reviewing 2080 citations, we included 8 controlled studies and 36 uncontrolled studies. The pooled proportion for incident HCC was 1.5 % (95% CI 1.0% to 2.1%; I2=90.1%; n= 542/39 145) from 18 uncontrolled studies and 3.3% (95% CI 1.2% to 9%; I2 =96%; n=109/6909) from 5 controlled studies, respectively. The pooled proportion for recurrent HCC was 16.7% (95% CI 10.2% to 26%; I2=84.8%; n=136/867) from 12 uncontrolled studies and 20.1% (95% CI 5.5% to 52.1%; I2=87.5%; n=36/225) from 3 controlled studies, respectively. There was no statistically significant effect on the risk of recurrent HCC (OR 0.50, 95%CI 0.16 to 1.59; I2 =73.4%) in a meta-analysis of three studies.
Conclusions: Our findings show low proportion of incident HCC, but high proportion of recurrent HCC on treatment with DAAs. Continued active surveillance for HCC after treatment with DAAs remains prudent.