Written by: Heather Helmendach, Legal Assistant
Law Offices of Thomas J. Lamb, P.A.
A recent study from the July 2017 edition of Gastroenterology sought to investigate the relationship between Direct Acting Antiviral Agents (DAA) -- such as Harvoni, Sovaldi, Viekira Pak, and Technivie -- and liver cancer, or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Previously, the medical literature on this subject was relatively sparse, as well as conflicting.
The following studies claim that DAA treatment is associated with an elevated risk of liver cancer recurrence:
However, the studies listed below either found insufficient evidence to declare a link between DAA and liver cancer recurrence, or evidence to the contrary:
The most recent study, titled "Risk of Hepatocellular Cancer in HCV Patients Treated with Direct Acting Antiviral Agents," tips the scale, so to speak, by providing further evidence that DAA treatment does not entail a higher risk of liver cancer.
The conclusions of this study are as follows:
Among patients treated with DAA, [sustained virologic response (SVR)] was associated with a considerable reduction in the risk of HCC. We did not find any evidence to suggest that DAAs promote HCC. However, in patients with SVR, the absolute HCC risk remained high in patients with established cirrhosis. These patients should be considered for ongoing HCC surveillance.
“Our data highlight the potential consequences of delaying treatment — either by lack of access or by patient/provider choice — on subsequent risk of HCC, and support treatment of all patients with HCV prior to their progression to advanced fibrosis and cirrhosis. Delaying treatment until patients progress to cirrhosis might be associated with substantial downstream costs incurred as part of life long HCC surveillance and/or management of HCC,” the researchers concluded. “We did not find any evidence to suggest that DAAs promote HCC either during or after treatment.”