The clinical impact of hepatitis C virus infection in Egyptian multiple myeloma patients.

Kassem, N. M., H. A. Kassem, M. Ibrahim, H. Zawam, and E. Hamada, "The clinical impact of hepatitis C virus infection in Egyptian multiple myeloma patients.", Journal of the Egyptian National Cancer Institute, vol. 32, issue 1, pp. 43, 2020.


BACKGROUND: Multiple myeloma (MM) is a human B cell neoplasia characterized by the clonal proliferation of malignant plasma cells in the bone marrow. Worldwide, hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a public health problem. For MM patients, the clinical impact of preexisting HCV infection is still unclear. We aim to assess the clinical characteristics and the prevalence of the HCV infection in Egyptian MM patients. This observational study included 81 MM patients. HCV antibody assay was performed, and positive cases were confirmed using a reverse transcription-quantitative PCR (RT-PCR) method.

RESULTS: Fifteen (18.5%) patients were anti-HCV antibody positive. Only 6/15 (7.4%) patients were HCV RNA positive by RT-PCR. Liver affection in the form of hyperbilirubinemia with grade 4 adverse events was significantly higher in the anti-HCV positive/HCV RNA positive group versus anti HCV negative group (16.7% vs. 1.5%, p value = 0.005). The median HCV-RNA before the initiation of chemotherapy was 2.5 log IU/ml with mean ± SD = 4.25 ± 1.6 with no HCV reactivation. In the univariate and multivariate analysis, HCV infection was not an independent factor related to DFS. Low hemoglobin level < 10 g/dL (HR 0.59, 95% CI, 0.36-0.97, p value = 0.037) and abnormal serum total bilirubin level (HR 1.9, 95% CI 1.03-3.5, p value = 0.039) influenced DFS in the univariate analysis. However, in the multivariate analysis, serum calcium level greater than 12 mg/dL (HR 7.04, 95% CI 1.12-44.45, p value = 0.038) and abnormal serum total bilirubin level (HR 10.9, 95% CI 2.92-41.02, p value = < 0.001) remained statistically significant worse prognostic factors.

CONCLUSION: In conclusion, our study revealed the prevalence of HCV infection in Egyptian MM patients. Serologic tests at diagnosis are necessary to identify these patients, and confirmation of positive cases by molecular techniques should be mandatory, with regular follow-up for liver dysfunction. Finally, further larger studies explaining the molecular mechanisms linking HCV and the MM pathogenesis are warranted.