Prevalence of hepatitis C virus genotype 1a in Japan and correlation of mutations in the NS5A region and single-nucleotide polymorphism of interleukin-28B with the response to combination therapy with pegylated-interferon-alpha 2b and ribavirin

Kazuhiko Hayashi, Yoshiaki Katano, Teiji Kuzuya, Yoshihiko Tachi, Takashi Honda, Masatoshi Ishigami, Akihiro Itoh, Yoshiki Hirooka, Tetsuya Ishikawa, Isao Nakano, Fumihiro Urano, Kentaro Yoshioka, Hidenori Toyoda, Takashi Kumada, Hidemi Goto
Journal of Medical Virology 2012, 84 (3): 438-44
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1a is rare in Japanese patients and the clinical characteristics of this genotype remain unclear. The interferon (IFN) sensitivity-determining region (ISDR) and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of interleukin-28B (IL28B) among patients with HCV genotype 1b are associated with IFN response, but associations among patients with genotype 1a are largely unknown. This study investigated the clinical characteristics of genotype 1a and examined whether genomic heterogeneity of the ISDR and SNPs of IL28B among patients with HCV genotype 1a affects response to combination therapy with pegylated-IFN-α2b and ribavirin. Subjects comprised 977 patients infected with HCV genotype 1, including 574 men and 412 women (mean age, 55.2 ± 10.6 years). HCV was genotyped by direct sequencing of the 5'-untranslated region and/or core regions and confirmed by direct sequencing of the NS5A region. HCV genotypes 1a (n = 32) and 1b (n = 945) were detected. Twenty-three (71.9%) of the 32 patients with genotype 1a were patients with hemophilia who had received imported clotting factors. Prevalence of genotype 1a after excluding patients with hemophilia was thus 0.9%. Of the 23 patients with genotype 1a who completed IFN therapy, 11 (47.8%) were defined as achieving sustained virological response. Factors related to sustained virological response by univariate analysis were IL28B and ISDR. In conclusion, HCV genotype 1a is rare in Japan. The presence of IL28B genotype TT, and more than two mutations, in the ISDR are associated with a good response to IFN therapy in patients with HCV genotype 1a.

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