JOURNAL ARTICLE

Role of rapid virological response in prediction of sustained virological response to Peg-IFN plus ribavirin in HCV / HIV co-infected individuals

D O Shea, H Tuite, G Farrell, M Codd, F Mulcahy, S Norris, C Bergin
Journal of Viral Hepatitis 2008, 15 (7): 482-9
18221297
The objective of the study was to evaluate the role of rapid virological response (RVR) in predicting sustained virological response (SVR) rates to hepatitis C virus (HCV) therapy. 65 HIV / HCV co-infected patients commenced HCV treatment per protocol. HIV / HCV patients with a mean CD4 count of 502 were treated for 24-48 weeks depending on genotype. Virological response was assessed at weeks 4 (RVR), 12 [early virological response (EVR)], 24, at end of treatment (EOTR) and 24 weeks post-completion of treatment (SVR). Primary end-point was defined as undetectable HCV RNA at 24 weeks post-treatment completion. Fifty-five per cent of co-infected patients were on highly active anti-retroviral therapy. A majority of patient group were male. 60% of HIV / HCV patients achieved SVR (35% genotype 1 / 4; 77% genotype 2 / 3). 24 HIV / HCV patients achieved undetectable HCV levels compared with baseline by week 4. The positive predictive value (PPV) of RVR at week 4 for subsequent SVR in HIV-HCV co-infected patients was 100%; the negative predictive value (NPV) was 57%. Significant variables associated with SVR were: (i) lower median pre-treatment HCV viral load, (ii) genotype 2 / 3 disease and (iii) achievement of RVR. Independent variables associated with RVR were low pre-treatment HCV viral load and genotype 2 / 3 disease. Achievement of RVR, a negative HCV-PCR, at week 4 of treatment is predictive of SVR in this cohort of patients. This may be used to guide optimal treatment duration in patient groups. More significantly, the data serve to highlight the subgroup of patients who, on achieving RVR, should be actively supported to complete HCV treatment with full dose therapy, especially patients co-infected with G2 / 3 disease for whom 6 months' full dose therapy may be sufficient to obtain a SVR.

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