Chronic HIV/HCV co-infection carries increased risk of cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and death. Due to anti-inflammatory properties, HMG co-A inhibitors (statins) may be useful adjunctive therapy to reduce liver disease progression.
Clinical information was extracted from the Veterans Affairs HIV and HCV Clinical Case Registries (1999 – 2010). HIV-related variables included combination anti-retroviral therapy (cART) era of diagnosis, CD4 cell count, and percent time with undetectable HIV viral load. Metabolic variables included diabetes, low-HDL, and hypertension. Statin use was measured as percent time with active prescription (time-updated throughout the follow-up period). Cox proportional hazards analysis was used to determine risk factors for cirrhosis (ICD-9 or APRI>2) overall and in groups stratified by alanine aminotransferase (ALT) level above and below 40 IU/L.
The cohort included 5985 HIV/HCV co-infected veterans. The majority was black race, and the mean age at index date was 45 years. Statin use was significantly protective of cirrhosis for patients with ALT ≤40 IU/L; for every 30% increase in time on statin, there was a 32% decreased risk of developing cirrhosis (HR 0.68, 95% CI 0.47 -0.98). Diabetes and low-HDL were significantly associated with cirrhosis in patients with ALT > 40 IU/L (HR 1.15, p < 0.04 and HR 1.3, p < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS
Statin drug use is beneficial in mitigating the risk of liver disease progression for HIV/HCV co-infected patients without advanced liver disease. Low-HDL and diabetes in co-infected patients with abnormal ALT have greater risk of cirrhosis development.