JOURNAL ARTICLE

Pegylated interferon plus ribavirin is suboptimal in IL28B CC carriers without rapid response

Karin Neukam, Pablo Barreiro, Antonio Rivero-Juárez, Antonio Caruz, José A Mira, Angela Camacho, Juan Macías, Antonio Rivero, Vicente Soriano, Juan A Pineda
Journal of Infection 2013, 67 (1): 59-64
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OBJECTIVE: Some experts consider that hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1-infected patients harboring IL28B genotype CC should be treated with interferon (Peg-IFN) plus ribavirin (RBV). This study aimed to assess the rate of sustained virological response (SVR) in these subjects, according to whether they achieve rapid virological response (RVR) or not.

METHODS: Prospective cohort study conducted at the Infectious Diseases Units of three Spanish hospitals. 220 treatment-naive, HCV genotype 1-infected patients, 160 of them HIV/HCV-coinfected, who initiated dual therapy with peg-IFN plus RBV were analyzed in an on-treatment approach.

RESULTS: 29 (18%) HIV/HCV-coinfected and 14 (23%) HCV-monoinfected (p = 0.44) individuals developed RVR. In the overall population, 32 (39%) patients with IL28B genotype CC versus 11 (8%) bearing genotype non-CC achieved RVR (p < 0.0001). In HCV-monoinfected patients with IL28B genotype CC, SVR was observed in 12 (92%) of those who achieved RVR and in 3 (30%) of those who did not (p = 0.0018). The corresponding figures for HIV/HCV-coinfected individuals were 19 (100%) and 14 (35%), respectively (p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSION: Treatment-naïve HCV-genotype 1-infected patients bearing favorable IL28B genotype should not be treated with dual therapy including Peg-IFN plus RBV if they do not achieve RVR. These subjects clearly represent candidates for more effective therapy with direct-acting antivirals.

SUMMARY: Some experts consider that hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1-infected patients harboring the favorable IL28B genotype CC should be treated with interferon plus ribavirin. However, patients harboring favorable IL28B genotype should not be considered likely responders to the same extent. This prospective cohort study conducted in 220 treatment-naive HCV-infected patients with or without HIV coinfection patients shows that among the IL28B CC carriers, while the subset of those patients who achieve negative plasma HCV-RNA after 4 weeks (rapid virological response, RVR) of dual therapy have a rate of sustained virological response near to 100%, those who do not present RVR show a response rate lower than 40%. Therefore, treatment-naïve HCV-genotype 1-infected patients bearing favorable IL28B genotype who do not achieve RVR should be considered candidates for more effective therapy with direct-acting antivirals like boceprevir or telaprevir.

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