Chronic hepatitis C (CHC)-related cirrhosis is the leading indication for liver transplantation (LT). However, the recurrence of a hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection after transplantation is universal and is associated with worse outcomes. Fibrosing cholestatic hepatitis (FCH) is a particularly severe manifestation of a recurrent HCV infection and frequently results in graft failure and death. The identification of risk factors for FCH is important but has been limited by the low frequency of FCH. The interleukin-28B (IL-28B) genotype is important in an HCV infection: it is related to the clinical severity of an acute infection and may play a role in the development of FCH as well. Two hundred seventy-two consecutive LT cases for CHC were studied at a single institution. Consensus criteria were used to define an FCH cohort. The remainder of the study population served as a control group. The IL-28B genotype (at the rs12979860 locus) from both the donor and the recipient was determined, and other clinically relevant data were tabulated. A nonparametric statistical analysis was performed. Twelve cases of FCH were identified, and they were compared to a control group of 260 LT cases without FCH. A detailed analysis of clinical characteristics, including treatment responses and outcomes, was tabulated. FCH was associated with the earlier recurrence of HCV infections, higher HCV viral loads, and lower levels of immunosuppressive medications. There was a nonsignificant increase in recipient IL-28B non-CC genotypes in cases developing FCH. In conclusion, a high HCV viral load and earlier recurrence were identified as risk factors for FCH. It is still unclear what role immunosuppression plays in the pathogenesis of FCH and whether IL-28B polymorphisms constitute a risk factor. Collaborative studies with larger numbers of study subjects are needed in order to define these issues.
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