Advanced stages of hepatitis C can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. Although direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) cure hepatitis C in over 90% of patients, the drugs don’t eliminate these advanced complications.

Italian researchers assessed the early occurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and the recurrence of the condition in patients with cirrhosis on DAAs.

As described in the Journal of Hepatology, the team analyzed 344 cirrhotic patients without HCC – however, 59 of them previously had HCC. All of the participants were being treated with DAAs and followed for 24 weeks.

The results showed that 91% of patients had a sustained virological response to the DAAs. During the follow-up period, 26 patients (7.6%) developed HCC – including 17 of the 59 patients (28.81%) would had previously had HCC and 9 of the other 295 patients (3.16%) who had never had it.