Hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 3 infection is very rare in high-income Asia Pacific. The aim of our retrospective observational study was to evaluate the incidence, clinical features, and treatment outcomes of patients with a genotype 3 HCV infection in the Gyeongnam Province of Korea. Ninety-eight consecutive patients diagnosed with a genotype 3 HCV infection at Gyeongsang National University Hospital, between January 2005 and December 2014, were enrolled into the study. Relevant characteristics of the study group included: 80.6% men, mean age of 41.8 years, and including 69 patients with chronic hepatitis, 25 with liver cirrhosis, and 4 with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Risk factors for HCV infection, sustained virologic response rate, development of HCC, and mortality in patients with genotype 3 were retrospectively analyzed.
Among all patients diagnosed with a HCV infection during the study period, the prevalence of genotype 3 was 7.3%. The incidence of genotype 3 was higher in young patients with a risk factor of IVDU (54.0%) and tattooing (62.3%). Among 45 treatment-naive genotype 3 patients, sustained virologic response was achieved with a combination of pegylated-interferon alpha and ribavirin in 75.6%. The cumulative 5-year incidence of HCC was 13.6%, and 8.9% for overall mortality. Liver cirrhosis at enrollment was an independent risk factor for HCC development.
This is the first study to elucidate the clinical features and outcomes among the patients with HCV genotype 3 infection in Korea. Further prospective studies are needed to investigate transmission routes and outcomes for HCV genotype 3 infections.