From 11 to 15 April, Paris hosted the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL), an event attended by approximately 10,000 people from all over the world and also attended by several specialists from Humanitas.

Dr. Ana Lleo De Nalda, a specialist in Hepatology in Humanitas, presented the results of an Italian multicenter study coordinated by Humanitas and involving ten Italian reference centers in the treatment of patients with hepatitis C.


The objectives of the study

“In the study, about 2,000 patients with cirrhosis were enrolled, treated with direct antivirals during 2015. Patients were followed for two years with the aim of monitoring the effects of therapy with the new antiviral drugs available (recently launched on the market in the years 2012-1013) and verify whether the new drugs carried an increased risk of onset of liver cancer. To this end, patients with cirrhosis and a history of previous liver cancer already treated were also enrolled in the protocol.

Liver cirrhosis is in itself a risk factor for this type of cancer, and some researchers had suggested that new drugs could increase this probability more than expected,” explained Dr. Schmidt.


The results of the study and its scientific relevance

“Our study has shown that therapy with new drugs does not expose patients to an increased risk of liver cancer, but on the contrary it has emerged that in patients in whom therapy is effective and who are thus able to eliminate the virus, the probability of onset of liver cancer in the future is reduced. This is confirmed for both patients with and without a history of cancer.

We have also been able to demonstrate that patients with more advanced disease with signs of portal hypertension, such as esophageal varices, have a higher risk of developing liver cancer, so identifying these patients is important because they require higher surveillance. In this way, we can set up a personalized follow up for them with strict controls that allow them to monitor the situation closely. This stratification of risk for each patient is essential: if the liver cancer is detected at an early stage, it can be treated effectively,” the specialist emphasized.

This study was particularly important because of the high number of patients involved, the results achieved and the progress made in terms of personalized medicine. The study was presented in plenary by Dr. Ana Lleo De Nalda and was reported among the best presentations of the Congress.


The Hepatic-Oncological Group

EASL also presented two abstracts dedicated to hepatocarcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma, the result of transversal work in Humanitas that involves the entire Hepatic-Oncological Group and sees collaboration between the operating unit of General and Hepatobiliary Surgery, directed by Professor Guido Torzilli, the Laboratory of Hepatobiliary Immunopathology, the Unit of Hepatology, Clinical Oncology and Pathological Anatomy directed by Prof. Roncalli.