Is the Rapid Virologic Response a Positive Predictive Factor of Sustained Virologic Response in all Pretreatment Status Genotype 1 Hepatitis C Patients Treated With Peginterferon-α2b and Ribavirin?

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IntroductionCurrently it is not yet defined if the rapid virologic response (RVR) can predict a sustained virologic response (SVR) in relapsers and nonresponders.ObjectiveTo evaluate treatment-RVR as a predictive factor of SVR in genotype 1 hepatitis C treatment naive, relapsers, and nonresponder patients treated with pegylated interferon-alpha (PEG-IFN-α2b) and ribavirin.MethodsOne hundred sixty-seven genotype 1 hepatitis C patients who were treated with PEG-IFN-α2b and ribavirin and had SVR assessed were included. Hepatitis C virus RNA analysis at the fourth week of treatment was performed in all patients. The exclusion criteria were hepatitis B virus and/or HIV co-infection. A comparative analysis was performed between the groups with and without RVR and a logistic regression model was applied.ResultsOne hundred sixty-seven patients were analyzed, 103 (62%) were naives, 22 (13%) relapsers, and 42 (25%) nonresponders. The SVR rates were 44% in naives, 68% in relapsers, and 12% in nonresponders. RVR was attained in 51/167 (31%) patients and in this group the SVR was higher than in those without RVR (75% vs. 23%; P<0.001). This difference was also observed in all subgroups: naives (71% vs. 29%; P=0.001), relapsers (92% vs. 40%; P=0.02), and nonresponders (50% vs. 8%; P=0.06). A stepwise logistic regression model identified RVR and absence of cirrhosis as the factors independently associated to SVR.ConclusionsRVR and absence of cirrhosis are the strongest predictive factors of SVR in HCV genotype 1 patients. Assessment of RVR is very useful in all pretreatment status patients in predicting SVR and provides information for individualizing therapy.

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