Predictive value of early virologic response in HIV/hepatitis C virus-coinfected patients treated with an interferon-based regimen plus ribavirin

Montserrat Laguno, María Larrousse, Javier Murillas, José Luis Blanco, Agathe León, Ana Milinkovic, Montserrat Loncá, Esteban Martinez, José Maria Sánchez-Tapias, Elisa de Lazzari, Josep Maria Gatell, Josep Costa, Josep Mallolas
Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: JAIDS 2007 February 1, 44 (2): 174-8

BACKGROUND: As a result of adverse events, a moderate rate of virologic response, and high costs associated with hepatitis C virus (HCV) therapy, finding early markers of sustained treatment response is a clinical priority. In the HCV-monoinfected population, a reduction >or=2 log in plasma HCV RNA at week 12 of therapy (early virologic response [EVR]) predicts a sustained virologic response (SVR). Few data are available in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients, however.

METHODS: A subanalysis of data from HIV/HCV-coinfected patients treated with pegylated interferon-alpha-2b (PEG, 100-150 mug/wk) or interferon-alpha-2b (IFN, 3 MIU 3 times per week) plus ribavirin (RBV, 800-1200 mg/d) was conducted in a randomized single-center clinical trial. The duration of treatment was 48 weeks (only 24 weeks for HCV genotype 2 or 3 with a baseline HCV RNA level <800,000 IU/mL).

RESULTS: Ninety-five patients were randomized (43 assigned to IFN + RBV and 52 assigned to PEG + RBV). Eighty patients completed at least 12 weeks on therapy and were included in the EVR analysis. Thirty-five (43%) of them attained an SVR (56% and 30% of patients treated with PEG and IFN, respectively; P = 0.026). An EVR occurred in 55 (69%; 80% of PEG + RBV group and 56% of IFN + RBV group). Overall, 35 of 55 patients with an EVR were sustained responders, yielding a positive predictive value of 64% (70% in PEG + RBV arm and 55% in IFN + RBV arm). None of the patients who demonstrated an HCV RNA decline of <2 logs at week 12 reached an SVR (negative predictive value of 100%).

CONCLUSION: Our results confirm the utility of an EVR to predict the chance of the lack of an SVR in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients, particularly those treated with PEG.

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