In women with chronic hepatitis C, conditions including menopause appear to accelerate the progression of fibrosis. But menopausal women who receive hormone therapy are more likely to present with less fibrosis, according to study findings published in the March issue of Gut.
Patrick Marcellin, MD, of the Service d'Hepatologie at Hopital Beaujon in Clichy, France, and colleagues studied 251 women, including 122 who were menopausal and 65 who were receiving hormone therapy.
The researchers found that 190 (76%) of the patients had mild fibrosis (F0-F1, Metavir score) and that 61 (24%) had moderate-to-severe fibrosis (F2-F4, Metavir score). Although moderate-to-severe fibrosis was associated with menopause, a lengthier duration of infection (more than 15 years), a higher body mass index, and steatosis, it was observed less often in menopausal women who received hormone therapy than in women who did not receive such therapy.
Codes L, Asselah T, Cazals-Hatem D, et al. Liver fibrosis in women with chronic hepatitis C: evidence for the negative role of the menopause and steatosis and the potential benefit of hormone replacement therapy. Gut. 2007;56:390-395.