Genotype, viral load and age as independent predictors of treatment outcome of interferon-alpha 2a treatment in patients with chronic hepatitis C. Construct group.
Bell H., Hellum K., Harthug S., Maeland A., Ritland S., Myrvang B., von der Lippe B., Raknerud N., Skaug K., Gutigard BG., Skjaerven R., Prescott LE., Simmonds P.
Patients with chronic hepatitis C respond differently when treated with interferon. We randomized 116 patients with chronic hepatitis C in order to compare two dosage regimens of recombinant interferon alpha 2a:3 MIU x 3 per week for 6 months (arm A) or 6 MIU x 3 per week for 3 months and then 3 MIU x 3 per week for 3 months (arm B). There were no significant differences concerning outcome between the two dose regimens: sustained clearance of HCV viremia 6 months after the end of treatment was obtained in 12/59 (20%) in group A compared with 18/57 (32%) in group B (p = 0.24). In patients with genotype 1a, 4/31 (13%), in genotype 1b, none of 9 (0%), 9/15 (60%) in genotype 2, and 17/58 (29%) in genotype 3, showed sustained clearance of HCV viremia 6 months after the end of treatment (p = 0.002). In a stepwise logistic regression analysis, only pretreatment viral load (p = 0.0001), genotype (p = 0.001) and age (p = 0.04) were identified as independent predictors of sustained clearance of HCV viremia. Liver histology as assessed by Knodell index was significantly improved in patients with sustained HCV RNA response 6 months after the end of treatment (5.2 +/- 2.2 vs 2.6 +/- 2.2, p < 0.001), but not in responders with relapse or in non-responders. In conclusion, stepwise logistic regression analysis showed that viral load, HCV genotype and age were the only independent predictors for sustained HCV RNA response.