Effect of treatment with interferon α-2b and ribavirin in patients infected with genotype 2 hepatitis C virus

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Abstract

Aim

Nearly 20% of chronic hepatitis C (CHC) patients with genotype 2 hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection are not curable, even by interferon (IFN)–ribavirin combination therapy. The aim of this study is to investigate the factors that determine the efficacy of combination therapy in patients with genotype 2 HCV infection.

Methods

Fifty patients with CHC who underwent a treatment of 6 MU IFN α-2b with ribavirin for 24 weeks were retrospectively analyzed.

Results

All the patients showed no serum HCV-RNA within 12 weeks after starting the therapy. Forty-one of the 50 patients (82%) achieved a sustained virological response (SVR). The age, sex, genotype (2a vs. 2b) and grade/stage of the liver by histopathology and pretreatment viral load werenot different between the sustained responders and relapsers. Univariate analysis showed that an earlier viral clearance from blood and a larger number of amino acid substitutions in the interferon sensitivity determining region (ISDR) were predictors of SVR. Multivariate analysis showed that a large number of amino acid substitutions in the ISDR was a predictor of SVR.

Conclusion

The characterization of the amino acid sequences of ISDR may be helpful for predicting a relapse after combination therapy in patients with genotype 2 HCV infection.

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