Early phase viral kinetics of chronic hepatitis C patients receiving telaprevir-based triple therapy: A comparison of two real-time PCR assays

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Abstract

Monitoring hepatitis C virus (HCV) kinetics during antiviral treatment is recommended for determining the best form of treatment management. We compared the measurement of HCV RNA by two Real-time PCR assays during the first 12 weeks phase of telaprevir in combination with pegylated interferon α2b and ribavirin treatment for chronic hepatitis C patients. The viral kinetics of 65 patients with HCV genotype 1b was assessed. HCV RNA was tested at baseline, on day 3, and every week from 1 to 12 by both the first-generation Roche COBAS® AmpliPrep/COBAS® TaqMan® HCV (CAP/CTM) assay and the Abbott RealTime HCV (ART) assay. A total of 910 serum samples were obtained from the 65 patients. Of these, 168 (28.5%) of the 590 samples HCV RNA negative by CAP/CTM were positive by ART. In contrast, 17 (3.9%) of the 439 samples HCV RNA negative by ART were positive by CAP/CTM. The rates of HCV RNA negativity by ART at weeks 3, 4, and 5 were significantly lower than those by CAP/CTM (21.5% vs. 50.8%, 36.9% vs. 70.8% and 44.6% vs. 81.5%; P < 0.001, P < 0.0001 and P < 0.05, respectively). Although the ART is superior for the determination of HCV RNA negativity, the predictive value of detectable HCV RNA for non-sustained virological response (non-SVR) by CAP/CTM is higher than by ART at weeks 4, 6, and 8. We also found that 16 (24.6%) by CAP/CTM and 28 (43.1%) by ART had a reappearance of residual HCV RNA during the telaprevir treatment period. However, the reappearance of residual HCV RNA was not associated with non-SVR. In conclusion, a significant difference was found between the two real-time PCR assays for the assessment of virological response based on undetectable HCV RNA.

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