Insulin Resistance Predicts Virological Response to Interferon-α in Chronic Hepatitis B Patients

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Abstract

Goals:

To elucidate impact of insulin resistance (IR) on the response to interferon-α (IFN-α) therapy in chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients.

Background:

Metabolic factors influencing the virological response of CHB patients on IFN-α treatment are still unexplored.

Study:

Eighty CHB patients were treated with IFN-α for 48 weeks. The IR was evaluated by homeostasis model assessment of IR (HOMA-IR) before treatment. Viral load and biochemical parameters were measured at 12, 24, and 48 weeks after starting treatment, and then 24 weeks after the end of treatment. IFN-γ and tumor necrosis factor-α were tested at baseline and 12 weeks of treatment.

Results:

Pretreatment HOMA-IR proved to be the only independent predictor of primary nonresponse, as well as the pretreatment HOMA-IR, viral load and primary nonresponse were independently associated with virological response at 24, 48 weeks of treatment and at the follow-up endpoint. The significant higher virological relapse rate in patients with IR was observed in patients with virological response at 48 weeks of treatment. The mean HOMA-IR was significantly lower in virological responders than in virological nonresponders. The secretion of IFN-γ and tumor necrosis factor-α was not induced in patients with IR at 12 weeks after IFN-α treatment.

Conclusions:

Our data suggest that IR is strongly associated with virological response, thus reflecting the important role played by metabolic factors in the viral kinetics during IFN-α treatment. These findings suggested clinical application of pretreatment HOMA-IR could enable treatment outcome to be predicted and treatment regimens to be determined.

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