Predictors of liver fibrosis in HIV-infected patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection: assessment using transient elastometry and the role of HCV genotype 3

Pablo Barreiro, Luz Martín-Carbonero, Marina Núñez, Pablo Rivas, Adolfo Morente, Nuria Simarro, Pablo Labarga, Juan González-Lahoz, Vincent Soriano
Clinical Infectious Diseases 2006 April 1, 42 (7): 1032-9

BACKGROUND: Liver fibrosis is accelerated in patients coinfected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The reasons for this faster liver disease progression are unclear, although higher plasma HCV RNA levels and distinct HCV genotype distribution in this population, compared with in HCV-monoinfected subjects, could play a role.

METHODS: Liver fibrosis was assessed using elastometry in all consecutive HIV-infected patients with chronic hepatitis C who attended our institution (Hospital Carlos III, Madrid) during the past 12 months. Hepatic stiffness was measured in kiloPascal units (kPa) and was interpreted on the basis of Metavir score: no or mild fibrosis (score, F0-F1) when liver stiffness is < or =7.1 kPa, and fibrosis with septa or cirrhosis (F2-F4) when >7.1 kPa.

RESULTS: A total of 283 patients (71% were male; mean age, 42 years; 94% were injection drug users and 94% were receiving antiretrovirals; mean CD4 cell count, 554 cells/microL; 72% with plasma HIV RNA level of <50 copies/mL) were analyzed. The mean alanine aminotransferase level was 68 IU/L, and the mean plasma HCV RNA level was 5.9 log IU/mL. HCV genotype distribution was as follows: genotype 1, 60% of patients; genotype 2, 2%; genotype 3, 26%; and genotype 4, 12%. Overall, 164 (58%) of the patients had scores indicating advanced liver fibrosis (F2-F4), as determined using elastometry. In the univariate and multivariate analyses, respectively, a significant odds ratio (OR) for score F2-F4 was found for HCV genotype 3, compared with the other genotypes (OR, 1.9 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 1.1-3.4] vs. 4.3 [95% CI, 1.4-13.3]); for older age (OR, 1.1 [95% CI, 1.03-1.17] vs. 1.1 [95% CI, 1.01-1.25]); and for elevated alanine aminotransferase levels (OR, 1.02 [95% CI, 1.01-1.03] vs. 1.03 [95% CI, 1.01-1.04]). Although patients with HCV genotype 1 had higher mean serum HCV RNA levels than did those with HCV genotype 3 (6.1 log IU/mL vs. 5.7 log IU/mL; P=.01), patients with HCV genotype 3 tended to have F2-F4 scores more frequently than did those with HCV genotype 1 (69% vs. 58%; P = not significant).

CONCLUSIONS: HCV genotype 3, older age, and elevated alanine aminotransferase levels are independent predictors of advanced liver fibrosis in HCV-HIV-coinfected patients.

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