Response to pegylated interferon plus ribavirin in HIV-infected patients with chronic hepatitis C due to genotype 4

L Martín-Carbonero, M Puoti, J García-Samaniego, A De Luca, E Losada, G Quinzan, R Bruno, A Mariño, M González, M Núñez, V Soriano
Journal of Viral Hepatitis 2008, 15 (10): 710-5
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes 1 and 4 respond less well to pegylated interferon (pegIFN) plus ribavirin (RBV) therapy. For this reason most studies merge these two genotypes when assessing virological response. However, in most trials the HCV genotype 4 population is rather small, and conclusions are mainly derived from what occurs in HCV-1 patients. All HCV-4 patients coinfected with HIV who received pegIFN plus RBV in two different multicentre studies, PRESCO and ROMANCE, conducted respectively in Spain and Italy, were retrospectively analyzed. Baseline plasma HCV-RNA, proportion of patients with HCV-RNA <10 IU / mL at week 4 (rapid virological response), and HCV-RNA declines >2 logs at week 12 (early virological response, EVR) were all assessed as predictors of sustained virological response (SVR). Overall, 75 patients (60 men) were evaluated. Median age was 40 years and median CD4 count 598 cells / mm(3); 49% had plasma HIV-RNA <50 copies / mL; 71% had elevated liver enzymes and 31% had advanced liver fibrosis (Metavir F3-F4). Median serum HCV-RNA was 5.7 log IU / mL. Rapid virological response was attained by 10 (20%) patients and EVR by 26 (42%). Using intention-to-treat and on-treatment (OT) analyses, SVR was achieved by 21 / 75 (28%) and 21 / 62 (34%) of HCV-4 patients, respectively. In the multivariate analysis (OT), baseline HCV-RNA (OR 0.09 for every log increment; 95% CI: 0.01-0.7) and EVR (OR: 7.08; 95% CI: 1.8-27.2) were significantly and independently associated with SVR. This is the largest series of HIV-infected patients with chronic hepatitis C due to HCV-4 treated with pegIFN plus RBV examined so far and the results show that HCV-4 behaves similarly to HCV-1. Therefore, these patients should be considered as difficult to treat population. Baseline serum HCV-RNA and EVR are the best predictors of SVR in HCV-4 / HIV-coinfected patients.

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