Chronic Hepatitis C: Acute Exacerbation and Alanine Aminotransferase Flare

Tatsuo Kanda, Naoki Matsumoto, Tomotaka Ishii, Shuhei Arima, Shinji Shibuya, Masayuki Honda, Reina Sasaki-Tanaka, Ryota Masuzaki, Shini Kanezawa, Tsukasa Nishizawa, Yasuhiro Gon, Masahiro Ogawa, Hirofumi Kogure

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The hepatitis C virus (HCV) causes acute and chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma, as well as extrahepatic manifestations such as malignant lymphoma. Currently, direct-acting antiviral agents (DAAs) against HCV infection can lead to a sustained virological response (SVR) in almost all HCV-infected patients. In this review article, we discuss acute exacerbation and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) flare in patients with chronic HCV infection. Although acute liver failure caused by HCV infection is rare, careful attention should be paid to the cases with ALT elevation during the natural course of chronic HCV infection. HCV genotype 2 infection, the use of rituximab, and a higher dose of corticosteroid are factors associated with HCV acute exacerbation and ALT flare. Treatment regimens for cancer have been interrupted or changed due to ALT flare due to HCV infection in some patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. The pathogenesis of HCV acute exacerbation and ALT flare could involve cellular as well as humoral immune responses. In the DAA era, the earlier introduction of DAAs may prevent chronic HCV-infected patients with acute exacerbation and ALT flare from developing into a more severe form, although DAAs may not be effective for all of them.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2023


  • DAA
  • HCV
  • acute exacerbation
  • acute liver failure
  • acute-on-chronic liver failure
  • flare up


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