JOURNAL ARTICLE
MULTICENTER STUDY

Performance and Value of IFN-Lambda3 and IFN-Lambda4 Genotyping in Patients with Chronic Hepatitis C (CHC) Genotype 2/3 in a Real World Setting

Steffen B Wiegand, Benjamin Heidrich, Simone Susser, Magdalena Rogalska-Taranta, Jörg Petersen, Klaus H W Böker, Natalia Grigorian, Ralph Link, Uwe Naumann, Christine John, Stefan Lueth, Peter Malfertheiner, Michael P Manns, Heiner Wedemeyer, Christoph Sarrazin, Markus Cornberg
PloS One 2015, 10 (12): e0145622
26699619

BACKGROUND: SNPs near the interferon lambda (IFNL) 3 gene are predictors for sustained virological response (SVR) in patients with chronic hepatitis C genotype (GT) 1. In addition, a dinucleotide frame shift in ss469415590 was described, which generates IFNL4. In this study, we compared the role of IFNL4 variants with IFNL3-(rs12979860) and IFNL3-(rs8099917) on response to pegylated (PEG)-IFN and Ribavirin (RBV) in patients with chronic hepatitis C GT2/3.

METHODS: We recruited 1006 patients with chronic hepatitis C and GT2/3 in a large German registry. A treatment with PEG-IFN and Ribavirin was started by 959 patients. We performed genotyping of IFNL3 (rs12979860, n = 726; rs8099917, n = 687) and of IFNL4 (ss469415590; n = 631).

RESULTS: Both preferable IFNL3 genotypes were associated with RVR (both p<0.0001) rather than with SVR (rs12979860: p = 0.251; rs8099917: p = 0.447). Only RVR was linked to SVR in univariate and multivariate analyzes (both p<0.001). Concordance of genotyping in patients with available serum samples and EDTA blood samples (n = 259) was more than 96% for both IFNL3 SNPs. IFNL3-(rs12979860) correlated with IFNL4: 99.2% of patients with IFNL3-(rs12979860)-CC were IFNL4-(ss469415590)-TT/TT. IFNL3-(rs12979860)-CT was linked with IFNL4-(ss469415590)-TT/ΔG (98.0%) and IFNL3-(rs12979860)-TT was associated with IFNL4-(ss469415590)-ΔG/ΔG (97.6%).

CONCLUSION: IFNL3 genotyping from serum was highly efficient and can be used as an alternative if EDTA whole blood is not available. In Caucasian GT2/3 patients genotyping for INFL4-(ss469415590) does not lead to additional information for the decision-making process. Importantly, IFNL3 SNPs were not associated with SVR but with RVR. Even in the era of new direct acting antiviral (DAA) therapies, IFNL3 testing may therefore still be considered for naïve GT2/3 patients to decide if dual Peg-IFN/RBV therapy is an option in resource limited regions.

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