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1.
In Vivo ; 35(6): 3377-3383, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1485630

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND/AIM: Liver injury has been frequently reported in association with SARS-CoV-2 infection, but data are still lacking regarding the impact of pre-existing liver damage and neoplasia on SARS-CoV-2 infection outcome and vice-versa. This study aimed to assess the effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infected patients, both in therapeutic-naïve and patients treated with direct acting antivirals. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort study on 21 patients with a personal history of HCV infection, that have been diagnosed with different forms of HCC and who were subsequently infected with SARS-CoV-2. Patients were monitored by liver function tests, tumoral markers, blood cell count, and coagulation profile periodically. RESULTS: Solitary HCC nodules were predominant among the subjects who achieved sustained virologic response, while multinodular and infiltrative patterns were mostly prevalent among the treatment-naïve group. Most patients had mild and moderate COVID-19 infections. CONCLUSION: Within the current global pandemic crisis, cancer patients are highly vulnerable and in need of constant monitoring. Among patients with HCC, the ones with cured HCV infection may be at a lower risk of fatality than those with active HCV infection, when diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Carcinoma, Hepatocellular , Hepatitis C, Chronic , Hepatitis C , Liver Neoplasms , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Carcinoma, Hepatocellular/complications , Carcinoma, Hepatocellular/drug therapy , Carcinoma, Hepatocellular/epidemiology , Hepatitis C, Chronic/complications , Hepatitis C, Chronic/drug therapy , Hepatitis C, Chronic/epidemiology , Humans , Liver Cirrhosis/drug therapy , Liver Neoplasms/complications , Liver Neoplasms/drug therapy , Liver Neoplasms/epidemiology , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
2.
PLoS One ; 16(9): e0257369, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1416897

ABSTRACT

Australia was one of the first countries to introduce government-funded unrestricted access to direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy, with 88,790 treated since March 2016. However, treatment uptake is declining which could potentially undermine Australia's progress towards the WHO HCV elimination targets. Using mathematical modelling, we updated estimates for those living with chronic HCV in Australia, new cases of decompensated cirrhosis (DC), hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and liver-related mortality among the HCV-cured and viraemic populations from 2015 to 2030. We considered various DAA treatment scenarios incorporating annual treatment numbers to 2020, and subsequent uptake per year of 6,790 (pessimistic), 8,100 (intermediate), and 11,310 (optimistic). We incorporated the effects of excess alcohol consumption and reduction in progression to DC and HCC among cirrhosis-cured versus viraemic individuals. At the end of 2020, we estimated 117,810 Australians were living with chronic HCV. New cases per year of DC, HCC, and liver-related mortality among the HCV viraemic population decreased rapidly from 2015 (almost eliminated by 2030). In contrast, the growing population size of those cured with advanced liver disease meant DC, HCC, and liver-related mortality declined slowly. The estimated reduction in liver-related mortality from 2015 to 2030 in the combined HCV viraemic and cured population is 25% in the intermediate scenario. With declining HCV treatment uptake and ongoing individual-level risk of advanced liver disease complications, including among cirrhosis-cured individuals, Australia is unlikely to achieve all WHO HCV elimination targets by 2030.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Hepatitis C, Chronic/epidemiology , Hepatitis C, Chronic/prevention & control , Australia/epidemiology , Calibration , Carcinoma, Hepatocellular/complications , Carcinoma, Hepatocellular/drug therapy , Carcinoma, Hepatocellular/epidemiology , Carcinoma, Hepatocellular/mortality , Disease Progression , Epidemics , Epidemiological Monitoring , Hepacivirus , Hepatitis C, Chronic/drug therapy , Hepatitis C, Chronic/mortality , Humans , Incidence , Liver Cirrhosis/complications , Liver Cirrhosis/drug therapy , Liver Cirrhosis/epidemiology , Liver Cirrhosis/mortality , Liver Neoplasms/complications , Liver Neoplasms/drug therapy , Liver Neoplasms/epidemiology , Liver Neoplasms/mortality , Models, Theoretical , Prevalence , Treatment Outcome , World Health Organization
3.
PLoS One ; 16(8): e0256544, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1374151

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) represent a vulnerable population potentially negatively affected by COVID-19-associated reallocation of healthcare resources. Here, we report the impact of COVID-19 on the management of HCC patients in a large tertiary care hospital. METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed clinical data of HCC patients who presented at the Vienna General Hospital, between 01/DEC/2019 and 30/JUN/2020. We compared patient care before (period 1) and after (period 2) implementation of COVID-19-associated healthcare restrictions on 16/MAR/2020. RESULTS: Of 126 patients, majority was male (n = 104, 83%) with a mean age of 66±11 years. Half of patients (n = 57, 45%) had impaired liver function (Child-Pugh stage B/C) and 91 (72%) had intermediate-advanced stage HCC (BCLC B-D). New treatment, was initiated in 68 (54%) patients. Number of new HCC diagnoses did not differ between the two periods (n = 14 vs. 14). While personal visits were reduced, an increase in teleconsultation was observed (period 2). Number of patients with visit delays (n = 31 (30%) vs. n = 10 (10%); p = 0.001) and imaging delays (n = 25 (25%) vs. n = 7 (7%); p = 0.001) was higher in period 2. Accordingly, a reduced number of patients was discussed in interdisciplinary tumor boards (lowest number in April (n = 24), compared to a median number of 57 patients during period 1). Median number of elective/non-elective admissions was not different between the periods. One patient contracted COVID-19 with lethal outcome. CONCLUSIONS: Changes in patient care included reduced personal contacts but increased telephone visits, and delays in diagnostic procedures. The effects on long-term outcome need to be determined.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Carcinoma, Hepatocellular/diagnosis , Liver Neoplasms/diagnosis , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antineoplastic Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/virology , Carcinoma, Hepatocellular/drug therapy , Carcinoma, Hepatocellular/mortality , Carcinoma, Hepatocellular/pathology , Delayed Diagnosis , Female , Humans , Liver Neoplasms/drug therapy , Liver Neoplasms/mortality , Liver Neoplasms/pathology , Male , Middle Aged , Neoplasm Staging , Pandemics , Patients/psychology , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Survival Rate , Telemedicine , Tertiary Care Centers
4.
Neuropeptides ; 89: 102159, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1225350

ABSTRACT

T cells of aged people, and of patients with either cancer or severe infections (including COVID-19), are often exhausted, senescent and dysfunctional, leading to increased susceptibilities, complications and mortality. Neurotransmitters and Neuropeptides bind their receptors in T cells, and induce multiple beneficial T cell functions. Yet, T cells of different people vary in the expression levels of Neurotransmitter and Neuropeptide receptors, and in the magnitude of the corresponding effects. Therefore, we performed an individual-based study on T cells of 3 healthy subjects, and 3 Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) patients. HCC usually develops due to chronic inflammation. The inflamed liver induces reduction and inhibition of CD4+ T cells and Natural Killer (NK) cells. Immune-based therapies for HCC are urgently needed. We tested if selected Neurotransmitters and Neuropeptides decrease the key checkpoint protein PD-1 in human T cells, and increase proliferation and killing of HCC cells. First, we confirmed human T cells express all dopamine receptors (DRs), and glutamate receptors (GluRs): AMPA-GluR3, NMDA-R and mGluR. Second, we discovered that either Dopamine, Glutamate, GnRH-II, Neuropeptide Y and/or CGRP (10nM), as well as DR and GluR agonists, induced the following effects: 1. Decreased significantly both %PD-1+ T cells and PD-1 expression level per cell (up to 60% decrease, within 1 h only); 2. Increased significantly the number of T cells that proliferated in the presence of HCC cells (up to 7 fold increase), 3. Increased significantly T cell killing of HCC cells (up to 2 fold increase). 4. Few non-conventional combinations of Neurotransmitters and Neuropeptides had surprising synergistic beneficial effects. We conclude that Dopamine, Glutamate, GnRH-II, Neuropeptide Y and CGRP, alone or in combinations, can decrease % PD-1+ T cells and PD-1 expression per cell, in T cells of both healthy subjects and HCC patients, and increase their proliferation in response to HCC cells and killing of HCC cells. Yet, testing T cells of many more cancer patients is absolutely needed. Based on these findings and previous ones, we designed a novel "Personalized Adoptive Neuro-Immunotherapy", calling for validation of safety and efficacy in clinical trials.


Subject(s)
Carcinoma, Hepatocellular/drug therapy , Carcinoma, Hepatocellular/metabolism , Cell Proliferation/drug effects , Liver Neoplasms/drug therapy , Liver Neoplasms/metabolism , Neuropeptides/pharmacology , Neurotransmitter Agents/pharmacology , Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor/biosynthesis , Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor/genetics , T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , COVID-19/complications , Carcinoma, Hepatocellular/pathology , Dopamine/pharmacology , Dopamine Agonists/pharmacology , Humans , Immunotherapy , Killer Cells, Natural/metabolism , Liver Neoplasms/pathology , Receptors, Glutamate/drug effects , Receptors, Neuropeptide/metabolism , Receptors, Neurotransmitter/metabolism
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