Differences in virological response to pegylated interferon and ribavirin between hepatitis C virus (HCV)-monoinfected and HCV-HIV-coinfected patients

Cristina Tural, Josep Antón Galeras, Ramon Planas, Susanna Coll, Guillem Sirera, Dolors Giménez, Anna Salas, Celestino Rey-Joly, Isabel Cirera, Carmen Márquez, Jordi Tor, Sebastià Videla, Montserrat García-Retortillo, Bonaventura Clotet, Ricard Solà
Antiviral Therapy 2008, 13 (8): 1047-55

BACKGROUND: Suboptimal doses of ribavirin have been suggested to explain the diminished efficacy of pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) plus ribavirin in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-HIV-coinfected patients.

METHODS: A cohort of 104 coinfected patients and an age-, sex- and genotype-matched cohort of HCV-monoinfected patients (n = 104) were compared. All patients received PEG-IFN-alpha2a 180 microg/week plus ribavirin 800-1,200 mg daily (HCV genotype 2/3 patients received 800 mg daily and those with genotype 1/4 received 1,000-1,200 mg daily) for 48 weeks (24 weeks for monoinfected patients with genotypes 2/3). HCV RNA levels were determined qualitatively at weeks 4, 12, 24, 48 and 72 and quantified monthly until week 12.

RESULTS: The coinfected cohort had more advanced liver disease and lower body weight. HCV genotype 1 patients coinfected with HIV showed higher levels of HCV RNA than monoinfected patients. A significantly higher proportion of coinfected patients interrupted the prescribed treatment period prematurely (84% versus 98%). During the first 12 weeks, smaller decreases in HCV RNA levels were observed in coinfected patients. Among patients with HCV genotype 1, coinfected patients achieved lower rates of early virological response (64% versus 87%), end-of-treatment response (47.3% versus 80%) and sustained virological response (SVR; 27.3% versus 56.4%), but not rapid virological response (RVR). HCV-HIV-coinfected patients with HCV genotype 2/3 achieved significantly lower rates of RVR (52% versus 88%). Multivariate analysis identified RVR, gender and liver fibrosis as independent predictors of SVR.

CONCLUSIONS: Differences in efficacy of PEG-IFN-alpha2a plus ribavirin treatment between HCV-HIV-coinfected and HCV-monoinfected patients were maintained despite optimized ribavirin dose.

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