Low alcohol consumption influences outcomes in individuals with alcohol-related compensated cirrhosis in a French multicenter cohort

Louvet A, Bourcier V, Archambeaud I, d’Alteroche L, Chaffaut C, Oberti F, Moreno C, Roulot D, Dao T, Moirand R, Duclos-Vallée JC, Goria O, Nguyen-Khac E, Pol S, Carbonell N, Gournay J, Elkrief L, Fouchard-Hubert I, Chevret S, Ganne-Carrié N; CIRRAL group. J Hepatol. 2023 Mar;78(3):501-512. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2022.11.013. Epub 2022 Nov 22.

Background & aims: The harmful impact of heavy alcohol consumption and recurrence in patients with alcohol-related cirrhosis is long-established, although this is based on old studies. However, the drivers of long-term outcome still need to be clearly investigated.

Method: All patients with biopsy-proven compensated alcohol-related cirrhosis included in the CIRRAL cohort (22 centers) were prospectively studied. Prognostic variables of survival and liver event-free survival were assessed using multivariable Cox models with stepwise selection. The prognostic impact of alcohol recurrence during follow-up (computed in glass-years in the same way as pack-years for tobacco) was assessed using a time-dependent covariable.

Results: From 2010 to 2016, 650 patients were included. The median age at baseline was 58.4 years, 67.4% were men and the median BMI was 27.8 kg/m2, 63.8% had a history of liver decompensation, and 70.2% had discontinued alcohol. At 5 years, recurrence occurred in 30.9% of abstinent patients and this risk was higher in patients with a history of drug abuse and in those with shorter alcohol discontinuation times. Median survival was 97 months. Age, alcohol consumption at baseline, platelet count and Child-Pugh score >5 were associated with overall and liver event-free survival on multivariate analysis. Alcohol consumption of more than 25 glass-years during follow-up was independently associated with lower survival and with a trend toward lower liver event-free survival, with the risk increasing from 1 glass-year, though not significantly. Simon & Makuch plots confirm the benefit of no alcohol consumption (<1 glass/week) on both outcomes and the dose-dependent impact of alcohol over time.

Conclusion: This prospective study in patients with compensated alcohol-related cirrhosis identifies factors predictive of alcohol recurrence during follow-up and shows that moderate alcohol consumption during follow-up negatively impacts outcomes. Patients with alcohol-related cirrhosis should be advised to completely stop drinking alcohol.

Registration: CIRRAL (NCT01213927) cohort was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov and the full protocol is available at the following link: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01213927.

Impact and implications: In patients with alcohol-related cirrhosis, data are lacking about the impact of the amount of alcohol consumed on both survival and liver-related events. The present study based on the CIRRAL cohort demonstrates that alcohol recurrence occurs in more than 30% of patients with compensated cirrhosis and that even a moderate recurrence strongly influences outcomes. Patients with compensated alcohol-related cirrhosis should be advised to completely discontinue alcohol consumption, even in small amounts, as the present study shows that no alcohol consumption can be regarded as safe when cirrhosis has developed.

Lire l’article