February 7, 2014
Difficulties With Monitoring
Meanwhile, liver monitoring and HCV disease staging have typically meant conducting a biopsy -- which, though it can be helpful for diagnosis of other forms of liver disease, can inform the need for HCC screening and can effectively predict end-stage liver disease development, is also expensive, invasive and quite painful. "We don't find a lot of patients particularly eager to undergo that."
The validity of a biopsy can also sometimes be a matter of debate, due to the risk that the liver sample taken may -- depending on the cross section of the organ obtained -- misrepresent the total amount of fibrosis. Due to the discomfort involved in the procedure, repeated testing is often less than ideal for many patients.
Meanwhile, other typical forms of non-invasive tests have limited value when it comes to determining HCV disease stage, Cox said. Measuring HCV RNA levels can have important prognostic value; determining HCV genotype is key to informing the type and duration of therapy to use; and CT scans or MRIs can spot evidence of cirrhosis. But none of these methods are effective at staging a patient's disease, Cox said, which has historically been critical for gauging whether treatment should be initiated.
Myles Helfand is the editorial director of TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com.
Follow Myles on Twitter: @MylesatTheBody.
The content on this page is free of advertiser influence and was produced by our editorial team. See our content and advertising policies.
|Long-Acting HIV Treatment: 5 Myths and Realities|
|IL-1β Inhibitor Lowers Arterial Inflammation in Adults With Controlled HIV|
|Two-Drug HIV Treatment Regimens Effective in Latest Studies|
|The Need to Advocate for Fair HIV Drug Prices|
|'Stop Describing, Start Intervening': Can the CDC's New Viral Load Data Help Guide HIV Programs?|
|Weekly Injections of Antibody PRO 140 Keep HIV Undetectable in 10 of 16 Patients|