Treatment optimization and prediction of HCV clearance in patients with acute HCV infection

Alessandra Mangia, Rosanna Santoro, Massimiliano Copetti, Marco Massari, Valeria Piazzolla, Enea Spada, Giuseppe Cappucci, Gabriele Missale, Leonardo Mottola, Ernesto Agostinacchio, Lazzaro di Mauro, Ornella Zuccaro, Patrizia Maio, Fabio Pellegrini, Antonella Folgori, Carlo Ferrari
Journal of Hepatology 2013, 59 (2): 221-8

BACKGROUND & AIMS: The lack of consensus on the optimal timing, regimen, and duration of treatment, in patients with acute HCV infection, stimulates the research on both favourable outcome predictors and individualized treatment regimens. This study aimed at investigating the impact of IL28B SNP rs12979860 alone or in combination with HLA class II alleles in both predicting spontaneous viral clearance and individualizing treatment strategies for patients with HCV persistence, after acute HCV exposure.

METHODS: 178 patients with AHC, consecutively treated with interferon alone or in combination with ribavirin, starting within or after 48 weeks from the diagnosis of AHC, were tested for IL28B SNPs and HLA class II alleles.

RESULTS: Spontaneous viral clearance was achieved in 28% of 169 patients available for genetic testing. Factors associated with HCV elimination were jaundice (OR 2.75, 95% CI 1.31-5.77) and IL28B CC (OR 3.87, CI 1.71-8.51), but not HLA alleles. In CT/TT patients without jaundice, NPV for virus persistence was 98%. In patients with IL28B CT/TT, starting treatment 48 weeks after the onset was significantly associated with lower rates of response (28% vs. 100%, p=0.027). By contrast, no significant differences in the rate of SVR were observed for CC carriers who started treatment later (65% vs. 85%, p=1.0).

CONCLUSIONS: In patients with acute HCV hepatitis, lack of viral clearance may be predicted by absence of jaundice and IL28B CT/TT genotype; in patients with these characteristics, treatment needs to be started immediately.

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