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1.  Clinical experience with nonstandard doses ofinterferon alfa-2b and ribavirin in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C infection: A retrospective analysis 
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is the most common blood-borne virus in the United States. Several mono- and combination therapies have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of HCV, but their routes of administration, dosing approaches, eras of introduction, and actual use in clinical practice and resulting effectiveness have not yet been reported.
The aim of this article was to characterize clinical use and virologic response (VR) of the HCV treatments interferon alfa-2b plus ribavirin (IFN + RBV) and peginterferon alfa-2b plus ribavirin (peg-IFN + RBV).
This retrospective chart review of office-based practices in theUnited States was conducted at 200 physicians' offices across the United States. We collected data concerning dosing patterns, VR (HCV RNA load, ≤1000 IU/mL or “negative” on polymerase chain reaction qualitative analysis), and adverse events (AEs) from the medical records of a geographically diverse sample of patients receiving treatment for chronic HCV infection in the United States from July 2001 to June 2002. For efficacy assessment, factors that were statistically different at baseline were adjusted using logistic regression. Providers also reviewed the medical records for symptoms or signs consistent with HCV treatment-related AEs.
Data from the records of 675 patients (423 men, 252 women; mean [SD] age of 45.5 [8.2] years; mean [SD] body weight, 80.8 [19.4] kg) were analyzed. At baseline, the IFN + RBV treatment group (330 patients) had significantly higher percentages of black patients (22.1% vs 15.7%; P = 0.032) and patients with hepatic disease based on clinician-reported cirrhosis and liver dysfunction (18.8% vs 9.9%; P < 0.001), and a significantly lower percentage of white patients (60.3% vs 69.6%; P = 0.012) compared with the peg-IFN + RBV treatment group (345 patients). The difference in log-transformed baseline HCV RNA loads between the 2 treatment groups in this study was <1 log unit. A significantly higher percentage of IFN + RBV-treated patients compared with peg-IFN + RBV-treated patients were prescribed HCV therapy on diagnosis (37.3% vs 29.9%; P = 0.041), and the mean (SD) duration of treatment was significantly different between the 2 treatment groups (52.5 [37.0] vs 27.5 [15.0] weeks; P < 0.001). Peg-IFN + RBV was associated with a higher rate of VR compared with IFN + RBV on univariate analysis (28.5% vs 17.5%; P = 0.018). Recommended doses of peg-IFN and higher-than-recommended doses of RBV were associated with an increased likelihood of VR. Higher-than-recommended doses of peg-IFN without a concomitant increase in RBV was not associated with an increased likelihood of VR. The incidences of the 3 most commonly reported AEs in the IFN + RSV group were significantly higher compared with those in the peg-IFN + RSV group: fatigue, 217 (65.8%) versus 185 (53.6%) patients (P = 0.001); depression, 147 (44.5%) versus 120 (34.8%) (P = 0.009); and anxiety, 87 (26.4%) versus 64 (18.6%) (P = 0.014). Nausea, however, was reported in a significantly higher number of patients in the peg-IFN group compared with the IFN + RBV group (74 [21.4%] vs 51 [15.5%]; P = 0.045). The frequencies of dose modification and treatment discontinuation due to AEs were similar between the 2 treatments and were similar to or less than those reported in other studies.
In this retrospective data analysis of US office-based practicesconcerning HCV treatment, clinicians were observed to prescribe IFN + RBV at doses that differ from recommendations in the product information (PI), as well as prescribe the RBV component of peg-IFN + RBV at doses that differed from PI recommendations. Although patients treated with peg-IFN + RBV appeared to achieve higher VR compared with those treated with IFN + RBV in our analysis of data from clinical practice, peg-IFN + RBV was associated with lower VR rates compared with those reported in clinical studies.
PMCID: PMC4003805  PMID: 24790244
hepatitis C; pegylated interferon; interferon alfa-2b and ribavirin; ribavirin; dosing; outcomes
2.  Comparison of Classification Algorithms with Wrapper-Based Feature Selection for Predicting Osteoporosis Outcome Based on Genetic Factors in a Taiwanese Women Population 
An essential task in a genomic analysis of a human disease is limiting the number of strongly associated genes when studying susceptibility to the disease. The goal of this study was to compare computational tools with and without feature selection for predicting osteoporosis outcome in Taiwanese women based on genetic factors such as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). To elucidate relationships between osteoporosis and SNPs in this population, three classification algorithms were applied: multilayer feedforward neural network (MFNN), naive Bayes, and logistic regression. A wrapper-based feature selection method was also used to identify a subset of major SNPs. Experimental results showed that the MFNN model with the wrapper-based approach was the best predictive model for inferring disease susceptibility based on the complex relationship between osteoporosis and SNPs in Taiwanese women. The findings suggest that patients and doctors can use the proposed tool to enhance decision making based on clinical factors such as SNP genotyping data.
PMCID: PMC3557627  PMID: 23401685
3.  Comparison of peginterferon alfa-2a and alfa-2b for treatment of patients with chronic hepatitis C: a retrospective study using the Japanese Interferon Database 
We aimed to compare the rates of sustained virologic response (SVR) achieved with peginterferon (PEG-IFN) alfa-2a and alfa-2b in combination with ribavinin (RBV) for chronic hepatitis C, using a large database of hepatitis cases to improve the generalizability of these results.
We identified patients with chronic hepatitis C who were treated with PEG-IFN alfa-2a or alfa-2b and RBV, from the Japanese Interferon Database, between December 2009 and April 2013. This database contains the medical records of IFN treatment collected from 36 prefectures in Japan. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to compare SVR rates obtained with PEG-IFN alfa-2a and alfa-2b, in combination with RBV.
A total of 16,349 patients were recorded in the Japanese Interferon Database. After application of the exclusion criteria, 12,706 patients (3,578 [1,710 males, 1,868 females] on PEG-IFN alfa-2a; and 9,128 [4,652 males, 4,476 females] on PEG-IFN alfa-2b) were included in this analysis. The SVR rate in the PEG-IFN alfa-2b group was 62.0%, as compared with a rate of 55.1% in the PEG-IFN alfa-2a group (crude odds ratio =1.31; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.23 to 1.44). There was no significant difference in the adjusted SVR rates between the two groups (adjusted odds ratio =0.96; 95% CI: 0.88 to 1.05). Similar proportions of adverse events were observed in the two groups, with the exception of thrombocytopenia, retinopathy, and anemia.
There was no significant difference in the SVR rates and safety profile between chronic hepatitis C patients treated with the PEG-IFN alfa-2a and alfa-2b.
PMCID: PMC4283988  PMID: 25565777
sustained virologic response; HCV genotype; sustained virologic response; adverse events
4.  Infections During Peginterferon/Ribavirin Therapy Are Associated With the Magnitude of Decline in Absolute Lymphocyte Count: Results of the IDEAL Study 
Incident infections during treatment with peginterferon and ribavirin for chronic hepatitis C virus infection are associated with on-treatment lymphocytopenia, female sex, and baseline depression, but not with on-treatment neutropenia.
Background. Myelosuppression due to pegylated interferon (peg-IFN) is common during treatment for hepatitis C virus. The relationship between infection risk and decreases in leukocyte lines, however, is not well established. The objective of this analysis was to determine the incidence of and risk factors for infections during peg-IFN/ribavirin (RBV) therapy.
Methods. A total of 3070 treatment-naive, chronic hepatitis C genotype 1–infected patients were treated for up to 48 weeks with peg-IFN alfa-2b 1.5 µg/kg/week or 1 µg/kg/week, or peg-IFN alfa-2a 180 µg/week plus RBV. On-treatment leukocyte counts were obtained every 2–6 weeks. Dose reduction was required for a neutrophil count <0.75 × 109 cells/L, and treatment discontinuation was required for a neutrophil count <0.5 × 109 cells/L. Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor was prohibited. Data on infections were captured at each study visit and categorized according to MedDRA version 13.0.
Results. A total of 581 (19%) patients experienced moderate, severe, or life-threatening infections as assessed by the investigator; 648 (21%) patients had at least 1 neutrophil count <0.75 × 109 cells/L, but only 242 (8%) sustained an infection and had a neutrophil count <0.75 × 109 cells/L at any time while on treatment. Twelve patients had severe or life-threatening infection and grade 3/4 neutropenia, but only 4 had temporally related infections. In a multivariate logistic regression model, nadir lymphocyte count, history of depression, and female sex, but not nadir neutrophil count, were associated with moderate, severe, or life-threatening infection.
Conclusions. Nadir lymphocyte count, not nadir neutrophil count, was independently associated with moderate, severe, or life-threatening infections in the IDEAL study. Clinicians should be aware of their patients' absolute lymphocyte counts during peg-IFN/RBV therapy; peg-IFN dose reductions may be a consideration in patients with significant lymphocytopenia (<0.5 × 109 cells/L).
PMCID: PMC3968310  PMID: 24399086
hepatitis C virus; lymphopenia; infections; neutropenia; interferon
5.  Hematological Adverse events and Sustained Viral Response in Children Undergoing Therapy for Chronic Hepatitis C Infection 
Hepatitis Monthly  2011;11(12):968-974.
Treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection with interferon (IFN) and ribavirin (RBV) is associated with adverse events, which may affect the patient's adherence to the treatment regimen and the treatment efficacy.
The aim of this study was to assess the sustained viral response (SVR) and interdependence between the haematological characteristics (leukocyte count, platelet count, and haemoglobin levels) in patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC) infection during treatment with IFN and RBV.
Patients and Methods
We conducted a retrospective cohort study of 170 children with CHC infection who completed treatment with IFN-α and RBV. The children were divided into 2 groups: the first group (group I, n = 119) underwent a 48-week course of treatment with recombinant IFN α-2b (Intron A) at a dosage of 3 MU 3 times a week subcutaneously and RBV at a dosage of 15 mg/kg per day orally, and the second group (group II, n = 51) was administered pegylated IFN (peg-IFN)-α-2b (PegIntron) at a dosage of 1.5 μg/kg per week subcutaneously and RBV at a dosage of 15 mg/kg per day orally for 48 weeks. The dose of IFN was not adjusted but that of ribavirin was in 2 children from group II. Hematological growth factors and erythropoietin were not used. SVR was defined as undetectable serum HCV RNA 24 weeks after the end of treatment (study week 72). Serum HCV RNA was determined by performing polymerase chain reaction, and the HCV genotypes and hematological parameters were evaluated. Serum HCV RNA levels were analysed by descriptive statistics. Means and standard deviations were calculated for values collected at the baseline, on the 12th and 48th weeks during treatment, and after 24 weeks of untreated follow-up (study week 72).
Eighty-six (50%) of the 170 patients who underwent treatment achieved SVR: 62 (51%) out of 119 children from group I and 24 (47%) out of 51 from group II. The mean serum hemoglobin levels and leukocyte and platelet counts at week 12 were significantly lower than the baseline values in both responders and non-responders from both the groups (P < 0.05). In the responders in group I, the mean levels of serum hemoglobin after 24 weeks of treatment and at the end of therapy were significantly lower than the mean levels at baseline. In the group treated with peg-IFN-α-2b and RBV (group II), the mean serum hemoglobin levels at week 12 was lower in the responders than in the non-responders (P < 0.05). The decrease in the hemoglobin levels was associated with viral response. In both the responders and non-responders from both the groups, leukocyte counts decreased during treatment, and after 12 weeks, they were more significantly lower than the baseline value. The decrease was more marked in children treated with peg-IFN-α-2b + RBV (P < 0.05). After 12 weeks of treatment, the platelet count was low in children from group II who had achieved SVR.
A mild decrease in hemoglobin levels and leukocyte and platelet counts during treatment with IFN and RBV in children with CHC infection may be factors responsible for SVR induction.
PMCID: PMC3282029  PMID: 22368680
Hepatitis C; Child; Therapeutics
6.  Current progress in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C 
Over the last decade, the standard of care for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C has been the combination of pegylated-interferon-alfa (PEG-IFN) and ribavirin (RBV) which results in sustained virological response (SVR) rates of 75%-85% in patients with genotypes 2 or 3 but only of 40%-50% in patients with genotype 1. Currently, there are rapid and continuous developments of numerous new agents against hepatitis C virus (HCV), which are the focus of this review. Boceprevir and telaprevir, two first-generation NS3/4A HCV protease inhibitors, have been recently licensed in several countries around the world to be used in combination with PEG-IFN and RBV for the treatment of genotype 1 patients. Boceprevir or telaprevir based triple regimens, compared with the PEG-IFN/RBV combination, improve the SVR rates by 25%-31% in treatment-naïve genotype 1 patients, by 40%-64% in prior relapsers, by 33%-45% in prior partial responders and by 24%-28% in prior null responders. At the same time, the application of response-guided treatment algorithms according to the on-treatment virological response results in shortening of the total therapy duration to only 24 wk in 45%-55% of treatment-naïve patients. There are, however, several challenges with the use of the new triple combinations in genotype 1 patients, such as the need for immediate results of HCV RNA testing using sensitive quantitative assays, new and more frequent adverse events (anemia and dysgeusia for boceprevir; pruritus, rash and anemia for telaprevir), new drug interactions and increasing difficulties in compliance. Moreover, the SVR rates are still poor in very difficult to treat subgroups of genotype 1 patients, such as null responders with cirrhosis, while there is no benefit for patients who cannot tolerate PEG-IFN/RBV or who are infected with non-1 HCV genotype. Many newer anti-HCV agents of different classes and numerous combinations are currently under evaluation with encouraging results. Preliminary data suggest that the treatment of chronic HCV patients with well tolerated combinations of oral agents without PEG-IFN is feasible and may lead to a universal HCV cure over the next 5-10 years.
PMCID: PMC3496882  PMID: 23155334
Chronic hepatitis C; Pegylated interferon; Ribavirin; Protease inhibitors; Nucleos(t)ide analogue inhibitors; Non-nucleos(t)ide analogue inhibitors; Hepatitis C virus polymerase; NS5A inhibitors; Cyclophilin inhibitors
7.  Impact of ribavirin dose on retreatment of chronic hepatitis C patients 
AIM: To study the efficacy and factors associated with a sustained virological response (SVR) in chronic hepatitis C (CHC) relapsing patients.
METHODS: Out of 1228 CHC patients treated with pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) and ribavirin (RBV), 165 (13%) had a relapse. Among these, 62 patients were retreated with PEG-IFN-α2a or -α2b and RBV. Clinical, biological, virological and histological data were collected. Initial doses and treatment modifications were recorded. The efficacy of retreatment and predictive factors for SVR were analyzed.
RESULTS: An SVR was achieved in 42% of patients. SVR was higher in young (< 50 years) (61%) than old patients (27%) (P = 0.007), and in genotype 2 or 3 (57%) than in genotype 1 or 4 (28%) patients (P = 0.023). Prolonging therapy for at least 24 wk more than the previous course was associated with higher SVR rates (53% vs 28%, P = 0.04). Also, a better SVR rate was observed with RBV dose/body weight > 15.2 mg/kg per day (70% vs 35%, P = 0.04). In logistic regression, predictors of a response were age (P = 0.018), genotype (P = 0.048) and initial RBV dose/body weight (P = 0.022). None of the patients without a complete early virological response achieved an SVR (negative predictive value = 100%).
CONCLUSION: Retreatment with PEG-IFN/RBV is eff-ective in genotype 2 or 3 relapsers, especially in young patients. A high dose of RBV seems to be important for the retreatment response.
PMCID: PMC3380324  PMID: 22736920
Chronic hepatitis C; Relapse; Retreatment; Ribavirin; Pegylated interferon
8.  Modeling Viral Evolutionary Dynamics after Telaprevir-Based Treatment 
PLoS Computational Biology  2014;10(8):e1003772.
For patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV), the combination of the direct-acting antiviral agent telaprevir, pegylated-interferon alfa (Peg-IFN), and ribavirin (RBV) significantly increases the chances of sustained virologic response (SVR) over treatment with Peg-IFN and RBV alone. If patients do not achieve SVR with telaprevir-based treatment, their viral population is often significantly enriched with telaprevir-resistant variants at the end of treatment. We sought to quantify the evolutionary dynamics of these post-treatment resistant variant populations. Previous estimates of these dynamics were limited by analyzing only population sequence data (20% sensitivity, qualitative resistance information) from 388 patients enrolled in Phase 3 clinical studies. Here we add clonal sequence analysis (5% sensitivity, quantitative) for a subset of these patients. We developed a computational model which integrates both the qualitative and quantitative sequence data, and which forms a framework for future analyses of drug resistance. The model was qualified by showing that deep-sequence data (1% sensitivity) from a subset of these patients are consistent with model predictions. When determining the median time for viral populations to revert to 20% resistance in these patients, the model predicts 8.3 (95% CI: 7.6, 8.4) months versus 10.7 (9.9, 12.8) months estimated using solely population sequence data for genotype 1a, and 1.0 (0.0, 1.4) months versus 0.9 (0.0, 2.7) months for genotype 1b. For each individual patient, the time to revert to 20% resistance predicted by the model was typically comparable to or faster than that estimated using solely population sequence data. Furthermore, the model predicts a median of 11.0 and 2.1 months after treatment failure for viral populations to revert to 99% wild-type in patients with HCV genotypes 1a or 1b, respectively. Our modeling approach provides a framework for projecting accurate, quantitative assessment of HCV resistance dynamics from a data set consisting of largely qualitative information.
Author Summary
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) chronically infects approximately 170 million people worldwide. The goal of HCV treatment is viral eradication (sustained virologic response; SVR). Telaprevir directly inhibits viral replication by inhibiting the HCV protease, leading to high SVR rates when combined with pegylated-interferon alfa and ribavirin. Telaprevir-resistant variants may be detected in the subset of patients who do not achieve SVR with telaprevir. While the clinical impact of viral resistance is unknown, typically the telaprevir-sensitive virus re-emerges after the end of treatment due to competition between the telaprevir-sensitive and resistant variants. Previous estimates of these competition dynamics were obtained from population sequence data, which are qualitative and have a limited sensitivity of ∼20%. We sought to improve these estimates by combining these data with clonal sequence data, which are quantitative and have a sensitivity of ∼5%, and using quantitative modeling. The resulting model, which was verified with an independent data set, predicted that the median time for telaprevir-resistant variants to decline to less than 1% of the viral population was ≤1 year. Our modeling approach provides a framework for accurately projecting HCV resistance dynamics from a dataset consisting of largely qualitative information.
PMCID: PMC4138032  PMID: 25101970
9.  Efficacy and safety of telaprevir, a new protease inhibitor, for difficult-to-treat patients with genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C 
Journal of Viral Hepatitis  2012;19(2):e134-e142.
The aims of this phase III study were to assess the efficacy and safety of telaprevir in combination with peginterferon alfa-2b (PEG-IFN) and ribavirin (RBV) for difficult-to-treat patients who had not achieved sustained virological response (SVR) to prior regimens in Japan. The subjects were 109 relapsers (median age of 57.0 years) and 32 nonresponders (median age of 57.5 years) with hepatitis C virus genotype 1. Patients received telaprevir (750 mg every 8 h) for 12 weeks and PEG-IFN/RBV for 24 weeks. The SVR rates for relapsers and nonresponders were 88.1% (96/109) and 34.4% (11/32), respectively. Specified dose modifications of RBV that differed from that for the standard of care were introduced to alleviate anaemia. RBV dose reductions were used for 139 of the 141 patients. The SVR rates for relapsers did not depend on RBV dose reduction for 20–100% of the planned dose (SVR rates 87.5–100%, P < 0.05). Skin disorders were observed in 82.3% (116/141). Most of the skin disorders were controllable by anti-histamine and/or steroid ointments. The ratios of discontinuation of telaprevir only or of all the study drugs because of adverse events were 21.3% (30/141) and 16.3% (23/141), respectively. A frequent adverse event leading to discontinuation was anaemia. Telaprevir in combination with PEG-IFN/RBV led to a high SVR rate for relapsers and may offer a potential new therapy for nonresponders even with a shorter treatment period.
PMCID: PMC3489056  PMID: 22239511
direct-acting antiviral; peginterferon; ribavirin; sustained virological response; treatment failure
10.  Ribavirin Concentrations Do Not Predict Sustained Virological Response in HIV/HCV-Coinfected Patients Treated with Ribavirin and Pegylated Interferon in the Swiss HIV Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(7):e0133879.
Ribavirin (RBV) is an essential component of most current hepatitis C (HCV) treatment regimens and still standard of care in the combination with pegylated interferon (pegIFN) to treat chronic HCV in resource limited settings. Study results in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients are contradicting as to whether RBV concentration correlates with sustained virological response (SVR).
We included 262 HCV treatment naïve HIV/HCV-coinfected Swiss HIV Cohort Study (SHCS) participants treated with RBV and pegIFN between 01.01.2001-01.01.2010, 134 with HCV genotype (GT) 1/4, and 128 with GT 2/3 infections. RBV levels were measured retrospectively in stored plasma samples obtained between HCV treatment week 4 and end of therapy. Uni- and multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to evaluate the association between RBV concentration and SVR in GT 1/4 and GT 2/3 infections. The analyses were repeated stratified by treatment phase (week 4-12, 13-24, >24) and IL28B genotype (CC versus CT/TT).
SVR rates were 35.1% in GT 1/4 and 70.3% in GT 2/3 infections. Overall, median RBV concentration was 2.0 mg/L in GT 1/4, and 1.9 mg/L in GT 2/3, and did not change significantly across treatment phases. Patients with SVR had similar RBV concentrations compared to patients without SVR in both HCV genotype groups. SVR was not associated with RBV levels ≥2.0 mg/L (GT 1/4, OR 1.19 [0.5-2.86]; GT 2/3, 1.94 [0.78-4.80]) and ≥2.5 mg/L (GT 1/4, 1.56 [0.64-3.84]; GT 2/3 2.72 [0.85-8.73]), regardless of treatment phase, and IL28B genotype.
In HIV/HCV-coinfected patients treated with pegIFN/RBV, therapeutic drug monitoring of RBV concentrations does not enhance the chance of HCV cure, regardless of HCV genotype, treatment phase and IL28B genotype.
PMCID: PMC4517877  PMID: 26218843
11.  The effectiveness of retreatment with peginterferon alfa and ribavirin in patients with chronic viral hepatitis C genotype 2 and 3: a prospective cohort study in Brazil 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:377.
More than 50% of patients infected with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) do not respond to treatment with conventional interferon (IFN) combined with ribavirin (RBV). The aim of our study was to evaluate the effectiveness of retreatment with peginterferon alfa-2a or 2b (PEG-IFN 2a or 2b) concomitantly with RBV in patients with HCV genotype 2 and 3, which were non-responders or relapsers to initial treatment with IFN / RBV and to identify possible predictors of sustained virological response (SVR).
From September 2003 to March 2009 a cohort of 216 patients who had previously failed therapy with a regimen of standard interferon and ribavirin, were followed in a specialized service implemented in the Brazilian Unified Health System, Rio Grande do Sul. All patients were retreated with PEG-IFN 2a or 2b per week, associated with RBV, through oral route, with doses determined according to weight (1,000 mg if weight ≤ 75 Kg and 1,250 mg if ≥ 75 Kg) per day for 48 weeks. The HCV-RNA was tested by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Virological Response (VR) within 48 weeks and SVR in the 72 weeks was considered for evaluation of treatment efficacy. Analyses were performed in patients who received at least one dose of PEG-IFN.
The SVR rate for non-responders to previous treatment was 34.4% and for relapsers was 50% (p = 0.031). As predictive factors that contribute to improve SVR, were identified the age (p = 0.005), to be relapsers to previous treatment (p = 0.023) and present liver biopsy examination Metavir F0-F2 (p = 0.004). In assessing the safety profile, 51 patients (23.6%) discontinued treatment prematurely.
This alternative retreatment for patients who have failed prior therapies for anti-HCV, has demonstrated promising SVR rate, provided that it includes a careful selection of patients with predictors of response and adverse events monitored.
PMCID: PMC3548710  PMID: 23270376
Hepatitis C; Retreatment; Peginterferon alpha; Ribavirin
12.  Pegylated interferon-alfa-2a monotherapy in patients infected with HCV genotype 2 and importance of rapid virological response 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:316.
Pegylated (PEG)-interferon (IFN)-alfa-2a plus ribavirin (RBV) therapy for 24 weeks is now a standard treatment protocol for patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 2. As RBV cannot be used in certain situations, we examined whether PEG-IFN-alfa-2a monotherapy for 24 weeks or less would be sufficient to obtain a sustained virological response (SVR) in patients infected with HCV genotype 2.
Forty-nine consecutive patients with HCV genotype 2 received PEG-IFN-alfa-2a (180 μg/week) subcutaneously without oral RBV for 8-64 weeks. HCV RNA level was determined by COBAS AMPLICOR HCV Test, v2.0.
HCV RNA was equal to or less than 100 KIU/mL (defined as low viral load) in 15 of 49 patients, and the remaining 34 had HCV RNA above 100 KIU/mL (defined as high viral load). All 15 patients with low viral load achieved rapid virological response (RVR; HCV RNA negative at week 4), and also achieved SVR with an average treatment duration of 17.1 weeks. The 34 patients with high viral load were treated for 33.7 weeks on average, and 19 of them (55.9%) achieved RVR. The SVR rates of these patients were significantly higher in those with RVR than without RVR (16/19 vs. 6/15 p = 0.0074).
PEG-IFN-alfa-2a monotherapy for 24 weeks or less might be sufficient to treat selected patients with HCV genotype 2, especially those with low viral load and becoming negative for HCV RNA by week 4 of treatment.
PMCID: PMC3224591  PMID: 21884572
13.  Prediction of Effect of Pegylated Interferon Alpha-2b plus Ribavirin Combination Therapy in Patients with Chronic Hepatitis C Infection 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e27223.
Treatment with pegylated interferon alpha-2b (PEGIFN) plus ribavirin (RBV) is standard therapy for patients with chronic hepatitis C. Although the effectiveness, patients with high titres of group Ib hepatitis C virus (HCV) respond poorly compared to other genotypes. At present, we cannot predict the effect in an individual. Previous studies have used traditional statistical analysis by assuming a linear relationship between clinical features, but most phenomena in the clinical situation are not linearly related. The aim of this study is to predict the effect of PEG IFN plus RBV therapy on an individual patient level using an artificial neural network system (ANN). 156 patients with HCV group 1b from multiple centres were treated with PEGIFN (1.5 µg/kg) plus RBV (400–1000 mg) for 48 weeks. Data on the patients' demographics, laboratory tests, PEGIFN, and RBV doses, early viral responses (EVR), and sustained viral responses were collected. Clinical data were randomly divided into training data set and validation data set and analyzed using multiple logistic regression analysis (MLRs) and ANN to predict individual outcomes. The sensitivities of predictive expression were 0.45 for the MLRs models and 0.82 for the ANNs and specificities were 0.55 for the MLR and 0.88 for the ANN. Non-linear relation analysis showed that EVR, serum creatinine, initial dose of Ribavirin, gender and age were important predictive factors, suggesting non-linearly related to outcome. In conclusion, ANN was more accurate than MLRs in predicting the outcome of PEGIFN plus RBV therapy in patients with group 1b HCV.
PMCID: PMC3229481  PMID: 22164207
14.  Ex vivo induction of IFN-λ3 by a TLR7 agonist determines response to Peg-IFN/Ribavirin therapy in chronic hepatitis C patients 
Journal of Gastroenterology  2013;49(1):126-137.
Genetic variation around interleukin-28B (IL28B), encoding IFN-λ3, predict non-responders to pegylated interferon-α/ribavirin (Peg-IFN/RBV) therapy in chronic hepatitis C (CHC). However, it remains unclear the expression and the role of IL28B itself. The aim of this study is to develop easy and useful methods for the prediction of treatment outcomes.
The mRNA and protein levels of IFN-λ3 induced by ex vivo stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) or magnetically selected dendritic cells (DCs) with toll-like receptor agonists (TLR3; poly I:C, TLR7; R-837) were measured by the quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and our newly developed chemiluminescence enzyme immunoassays, respectively, and compared with the clinical data.
We found that BDCA-4+ plasmacytoid and BDCA-3+ myeloid DCs were the main producers of IFN-λs when stimulated with R-837 and poly I:C, respectively. Detectable levels of IFN-λs were inducible even in a small amount of PBMC, and IFN-λ3 was more robustly up-regulated by R-837 in PBMC of CHC patients with favorable genotype for the response to Peg-IFN/RBV (TT in rs8099917) than those with TG/GG. Importantly, the protein levels of IFN-λ3 induced by R-837 clearly differentiated the response to Peg-IFN/RBV treatment (p = 1.0 × 10−10), including cases that IL28B genotyping failed to predict the treatment response. The measurement of IFN-λ3 protein more accurately predicted treatment efficacies (95.7 %) than that of IL28B genotyping (65.2 %).
Genetic variations around IL28B basically affect IFN-λ3 production, but different amounts of IFN-λ3 protein determines the outcomes of Peg-IFN/RBV treatment. This study, for the first time, presents compelling evidence that IL28B confer a functional phenotype.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00535-013-0814-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3895210  PMID: 23591768
Chronic hepatitis C; IL28B; IFN-λ3; Peg-IFN/RBV
15.  Intelligent Sensor Positioning and Orientation Through Constructive Neural Network-Embedded INS/GPS Integration Algorithms 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2010;10(10):9252-9285.
Mobile mapping systems have been widely applied for acquiring spatial information in applications such as spatial information systems and 3D city models. Nowadays the most common technologies used for positioning and orientation of a mobile mapping system include a Global Positioning System (GPS) as the major positioning sensor and an Inertial Navigation System (INS) as the major orientation sensor. In the classical approach, the limitations of the Kalman Filter (KF) method and the overall price of multi-sensor systems have limited the popularization of most land-based mobile mapping applications. Although intelligent sensor positioning and orientation schemes consisting of Multi-layer Feed-forward Neural Networks (MFNNs), one of the most famous Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs), and KF/smoothers, have been proposed in order to enhance the performance of low cost Micro Electro Mechanical System (MEMS) INS/GPS integrated systems, the automation of the MFNN applied has not proven as easy as initially expected. Therefore, this study not only addresses the problems of insufficient automation in the conventional methodology that has been applied in MFNN-KF/smoother algorithms for INS/GPS integrated systems proposed in previous studies, but also exploits and analyzes the idea of developing alternative intelligent sensor positioning and orientation schemes that integrate various sensors in more automatic ways. The proposed schemes are implemented using one of the most famous constructive neural networks—the Cascade Correlation Neural Network (CCNNs)—to overcome the limitations of conventional techniques based on KF/smoother algorithms as well as previously developed MFNN-smoother schemes. The CCNNs applied also have the advantage of a more flexible topology compared to MFNNs. Based on the experimental data utilized the preliminary results presented in this article illustrate the effectiveness of the proposed schemes compared to smoother algorithms as well as the MFNN-smoother schemes.
PMCID: PMC3230954  PMID: 22163407
GPS/INS; sensor integration; mobile mapping systems; constructive neural networks
16.  Treatment of Naïve Patients with Chronic Hepatitis C Genotypes 2 and 3 with Pegylated Interferon Alpha and Ribavirin in a Real World Setting: Relevance for the New Era of DAA 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e108751.
Evidence based clinical guidelines are implemented to treat patients efficiently that include efficacy, tolerability but also health economic considerations. This is of particular relevance to the new direct acting antiviral agents that have revolutionized treatment of chronic hepatitis C. For hepatitis C genotypes 2/3 interferon free treatment is already available with sofosbuvir plus ribavirin. However, treatment with sofosbuvir-based regimens is 10–20 times more expensive compared to pegylated interferon alfa and ribavirin (PegIFN/RBV). It has to be discussed if PegIFN/RBV is still an option for easy to treat patients. We assessed the treatment of patients with chronic hepatitis C genotypes 2/3 with PegIFN/RBV in a real world setting according to the latest German guidelines. Overall, 1006 patients were recruited into a prospective patient registry with 959 having started treatment. The intention-to-treat analysis showed poor SVR (GT2 61%, GT3 47%) while patients with adherence had excellent SVR in the per protocol analysis (GT2 96%, GT3 90%). According to guidelines, 283 patients were candidates for shorter treatment duration, namely a treatment of 16 weeks (baseline HCV-RNA <800.000 IU/mL, no cirrhosis and RVR). However, 65% of these easy to treat patients have been treated longer than recommended that resulted in higher costs but not higher SVR rates. In conclusion, treatment with PegIFN/RBV in a real world setting can be highly effective yet similar effective than PegIFN± sofosbuvir/RBV in well-selected naïve G2/3 patients. Full adherence to guidelines could be further improved, because it would be important in the new era with DAA, especially to safe resources.
PMCID: PMC4193764  PMID: 25302676
17.  Genome-wide association study of interferon-related cytopenia in chronic hepatitis C patients 
Journal of hepatology  2011;56(2):313-319.
Background & Aims
Interferon-alfa (IFN)-related cytopenias are common and may be dose-limiting. We performed a genome wide association study on a well-characterized genotype 1 HCV cohort to identify genetic determinants of peginterferon-α (peg-IFN)-related thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, and leukopenia.
1604/3070 patients in the IDEAL study consented to genetic testing. Trial inclusion criteria included a platelet (Pl) count ≥80 × 109/L and an absolute neutrophil count (ANC) ≥ 1500/mm3. Samples were genotyped using the Illumina Human610-quad BeadChip. The primary analyses focused on the genetic determinants of quantitative change in cell counts (Pl, ANC, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils) at week 4 in patients >80% adherent to therapy (n = 1294).
6 SNPs on chromosome 20 were positively associated with Pl reduction (top SNP rs965469, p = 10−10). These tag SNPs are in high linkage disequilibrium with 2 functional variants in the ITPA gene, rs1127354 and rs7270101, that cause ITPase deficiency and protect against ribavirin (RBV)-induced hemolytic anemia (HA). rs1127354 and rs7270101 showed strong independent associations with Pl reduction (p = 10−12, p = 10−7) and entirely explained the genome-wide significant associations. We believe this is an example of an indirect genetic association due to a reactive thrombocytosis to RBV-induced anemia: Hb decline was inversely correlated with Pl reduction (r = −0.28, p = 10−17) and Hb change largely attenuated the association between the ITPA variants and Pl reduction in regression models. No common genetic variants were associated with pegIFN-induced neutropenia or leucopenia.
Two ITPA variants were associated with thrombocytopenia; this was largely explained by a thrombocytotic response to RBV-induced HA attenuating IFN-related thrombocytopenia. No genetic determinants of pegIFN-induced neutropenia were identified.
PMCID: PMC3634361  PMID: 21703177
GWAS; ITPA; Thrombocytopenia; Hepatitis C; Neutropenia; IL28B
18.  Hepatitis C Viral Kinetics in the Era of Direct Acting Antiviral Agents and IL28B 
Current hepatitis reports  2011;10(3):214-227.
In the last decade hepatitis C virus (HCV) kinetics has become an important clinical tool for the optimization of therapy with (pegylated)-interferon-α (IFN) and ribavirin (RBV). Mathematical models have generated important insights into HCV pathogenesis, HCV- host dynamics, and IFN and RBV’s modes of action. Clinical trials with direct acting agents (DAAs) against various steps of the HCV life cycle have revealed new viral kinetic patterns that have not been observed with IFN±RBV. Very recently, studies have showed that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the IL28B gene region were associated with race/ethnicity and with response to IFN±RBV. Here we review our current knowledge of HCV kinetics and related mathematical models during IFN±RBV and/or DAA based therapies, HCV pathogenesis, and the role of IL28B polymorphism on early HCV kinetics. Better understanding of the mode of actions of drug(s) and viral kinetics may help to develop, in the near future, new individualized therapeutic regimens that include DAAs in combination with IFN+RBV.
PMCID: PMC3237049  PMID: 22180724
19.  Efficacy of 24-Week Pegylated Interferon Alpha and Ribavirin Combination Therapy in Highly Selected Patients Infected With Hepatitis C Virus Genotype 1 
Hepatitis Monthly  2015;15(1):e24955.
Previous studies using pegylated interferon (Peg-IFN) and ribavirin (RBV) combination therapy suggested that patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1 and low pretreatment HCV RNA level who achieved rapid virological response (RVR) can be treated for 24 weeks without compromising sustained virological response (SVR) rate.
The current study aimed to investigate the efficacy of Peg-IFN-alfa-2a plus RBV administered for a 24-week treatment course in patients with chronic HCV genotype 1 infection and possessing the following criteria: low baseline serum HCV RNA level, absence of significant fibrosis and achievement of RVR.
Patients and Methods:
In this case-control study, 20 patients with HCV genotype 1 infection and favorable baseline characteristics and on-treatment response were treated with Peg-IFN and RBV for 24 weeks as the case group. Furthermore, 23 patients with the same characteristics who underwent a 48-week treatment course were selected as the control group.
The majority of patients had no fibrosis on liver elastography. There was no statistical difference regarding age, gender, alanine transaminase (ALT) level, rs12979860 polymorphism and the level of fibrosis between the two studied groups. All patients in the 24-week treatment course achieved SVR and all the subjects who received the 48-week treatment course achieved SVR as well (P > 0.99).
The current study confirmed that the efficacy of a 24-week regimen of Peg-IFN-alfa-2a plus RBV was similar to the 48-week treatment in the patients infected with HCV genotype 1, and low baseline HCV RNA level who achieved RVR. Response guided therapy can be efficient and cost-effective among the selected HCV genotype 1-infected patients.
PMCID: PMC4330713  PMID: 25741374
Hepatitis C; PEG-interferon alfa-2A; Viral Load
20.  Identification of Treatment Efficacy–Related Host Factors in Chronic Hepatitis C by ProteinChip Serum Analysis 
Molecular Medicine  2010;17(1-2):70-78.
Recent development of proteomic array technology, including protein profiling coupling ProteinChip array with surface-enhanced laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (SELDI-TOF/MS), provides a potentially powerful tool for discovery of new biomarkers by comparison of its profiles according to patient phenotypes. We used this approach to identify the host factors associated with treatment response in patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC) receiving a 48-wk course of pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) alpha 2b plus ribavirin (RBV). Protein profiles of pretreatment serum samples from 32 patients with genotype 1b and high viral load were conducted by SELDI-TOF/MS by using the three different ProteinChip arrays (CM10, Q10, IMAC30). Proteins showed significantly different peak intensities between sustained virological responders (SVRs), and non-SVRs were identified by chromatography, SDS-PAGE, TOF/MS and tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) assay. Eleven peak intensities were significantly different between SVRs and non-SVRs. The three SVR-increased peaks could be identified as two apolipoprotein (Apo) fragments and albumin and, among the eight non–SVR-increased proteins, four peaks identified as two iron-related and two fibrogenesis-related protein fragments, respectively. Multivariate analysis showed that the serum ferritin and three peak intensity values (Apo A1, hemopexin and transferrin) were independent variables associated with SVRs, and the area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves for SVR prediction by using the Apo A1/hemopexin and hemopexin/transferrin were 0.964 and 0.936. In conclusion, pretreatment serum protein profiling by SELDI-TOF/MS is variable for identification of response-related host factors, which are useful for treatment efficacy prediction in CHC receiving PEG-IFN plus RBV. Our data also may help us understand the mechanism for treatment resistance and development of more effective antiviral therapy targeted toward the modulation of lipogenesis or iron homeostasis in CHC patients.
PMCID: PMC3022982  PMID: 20927485
21.  Efficacy and Tolerability of Combination Therapy with Interferon-Alfa Plus Ribavirin in Patients with Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection: A Single-Center Study in Relapsers and Nonresponders to Previous Treatment with High-Dose Interferon-Alfa Monotherapy 
Background: In chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, interferon (IFN) monotherapy usually is carried out at doses of 3 to 6 million units (MU) 3 times per week, but treatment efficacy is low.
Objective: The aim of our study was to assess the efficacy and tolerability of IFN-alfa2b in combination with ribavirin in relapsers and nonresponders to high-dose IFN treatment (5 to 6 MU 3 times per week). We measured the biochemical and virologic responses to treatment and the risk for relapse during the 24 weeks following the end of treatment.
Methods: Patients with chronic HCV infection (relapsers and nonresponders to a previous treatment with high-dose IFN) received IFN-alfa2b, 3 MU 3 times per week, and ribavirin, 1000 or 1200 mg/d for 24 or 48 weeks. The patients were then followed up for an additional 24 weeks. Sustained response was defined as normal serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) level and undetectable HCV RNA 24 weeks after treatment was stopped.
Results: Forty-three patients (32 men, 11 women; mean [SD] age, 45 [2] years; 10 relapsers, 33 nonresponders) were included in the study. Four patients were withdrawn from the study at week 4 of treatment because of treatment-related adverse events, and 1 dropped out. At the end of the treatment period, normalization of serum ALT levels and undetectable HCV RNA levels were seen in 58.1% and 30.2% of patients, respectively. No significant difference in virologic response at the end of treatment was found between nonresponders (10/33 [30.3%]) to previous IFN therapy and relapsers (3/10 [30.0%]). At the end of follow-up, 3 (7.0%) treated patients had sustained response (2 nonresponders to the first IFN course and 1 relapser). All of the patients with sustained response were treated for 24 weeks.
Conclusion: Based on the results of our study, combination therapy with IFN-alfa and ribavirin may be of value in a limited number of patients with chronic HCV infection who do not respond to, or relapse after, a first course of treatment with high-dose IFN monotherapy.
PMCID: PMC4053042  PMID: 24944362
chronic hepatitis C virus; high-dose interferon; ribavirin; combination therapy
22.  Establishment of Hepatitis C Virus RNA-Replicating Cell Lines Possessing Ribavirin-Resistant Phenotype 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0118313.
Ribavirin (RBV) is a potential partner of interferon-based therapy and recently approved therapy using direct acting antivirals for patients with chronic hepatitis C. However, the precise mechanisms underlying RBV action against hepatitis C virus (HCV) replication are not yet understood. To clarify this point, we attempted to develop RBV-resistant cells from RBV-sensitive HCV RNA-replicating cells.
Methodology/Principal Findings
By repetitive RBV (100 μM) treatment (10 weeks) of 3.5-year-cultured OL8 cells, in which genome-length HCV RNA (O strain of genotype 1b) efficiently replicates, dozens of colonies that survived RBV treatment were obtained. These colonies were mixed together and further treated with high doses of RBV (up to 200 μM). By such RBV treatment, we successfully established 12 RBV-survived genome-length HCV RNA-replicating cell lines. Among them, three representative cell lines were characterized. HCV RNA replication in these cells resisted RBV significantly more than that in the parental OL8 cells. Genetic analysis of HCV found several common and conserved amino acid substitutions in HCV proteins among the three RBV-resistant cell species. Furthermore, using cDNA microarray and quantitative RT-PCR analyses, we identified 5 host genes whose expression levels were commonly altered by more than four-fold among these RBV-resistant cells compared with the parental cells. Moreover, to determine whether viral or host factor contributes to RBV resistance, we developed newly HCV RNA-replicating cells by introducing total RNAs isolated from RBV-sensitive parental cells or RBV-resistant cells into the HCV RNA-cured-parental or -RBV-resistant cells using an electroporation method, and evaluated the degrees of RBV resistance of these developed cells. Consequently, we found that RBV-resistant phenotype was conferred mainly by host factor and partially by viral factor.
These newly established HCV RNA-replicating cell lines should become useful tools for further understanding the anti-HCV mechanisms of RBV.
PMCID: PMC4336140  PMID: 25699517
23.  Reduced Ribavirin Antiviral Efficacy via Nucleoside Transporter-Mediated Drug Resistance▿  
Journal of Virology  2009;83(9):4538-4547.
Treatment for hepatitis C virus infection currently consists of pegylated interferon and ribavirin (RBV), a nucleoside analog. Although RBV clearly plays a role in aiding the treatment response, its antiviral mechanism is unclear. Regardless of the specific mechanism of RBV, we hypothesize that differences in levels of cellular uptake of RBV may affect antiviral efficacy and treatment success and that cells may become RBV resistant through reduced uptake. We monitored RBV uptake in various cell lines and determined the effect of uptake capacity on viral replication. RBV-resistant cells demonstrated reduced RBV uptake and increased growth of a model RNA virus, poliovirus, in the presence of RBV. Overexpression of equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (ENT1) or concentrative nucleoside transporter 3 (CNT3) increased RBV uptake in RBV-sensitive cell lines and restored the uptake defect in most RBV-resistant cell lines. However, CNT3 is not expressed in Huh-7 liver cells, and inhibition of concentrative transport did not affect RBV uptake. Blocking equilibrative transport using the inhibitor nitrobenzylmercaptopurine riboside recapitulated the RBV-resistant phenotype in RBV-sensitive cell lines, with a reduction in RBV uptake and increased poliovirus growth. Taken together, these results indicate that RBV uptake is restricted primarily to ENT1 in the cell lines examined. Interestingly, some RBV-resistant cell lines may compensate for reduced ENT1-mediated nucleoside uptake by increasing the activity of an alternative nucleoside transporter, ENT2. It is possible that RBV uptake affects the antiviral treatment response, either through natural differences in patients or through acquired resistance.
PMCID: PMC2668478  PMID: 19244331
24.  Does a rapid decline in the hematological and biochemical parameters induced by interferon and ribavirin combination therapy for the hepatitis C virus predict a sustained viral response? 
To analyze whether rapid myelosuppression and a decrease in alanine aminotransferase (ALT) induced by standard interferon (IFN) and ribavirin (RBV) combination therapy predict a sustained viral response (SVR) in hepatitis C virus patients.
Data from 111 patients (mean age 48.1 years) with chronic hepatitis C virus were retrospectively analyzed. All patients were treated with the same initial doses of IFN and RBV combination therapy. The following laboratory values were measured at baseline, and then at weeks 2, 4, 8, 12 and 24 of treatment: hemoglobin, white blood cells (WBCs), neutrophils, platelets and ALT. A delta value was then calculated for each interval from baseline (baseline values minus two weeks, etc). The delta value of each variable was then compared between the responders and nonresponders using Wilcoxon’s signed rank test.
Sixty patients (54%) achieved an SVR. There were no significant differences between the responder and nonresponder groups for baseline variables. The delta value of ALT was the only significant marker in the prediction of an SVR. The mean ± SD delta values for the ALT at week 2 of treatment were 71±92 U/L and 44±85 U/L for the responders and nonresponders, respectively (P<0.0046). At week 4, the values were 101±96 U/L and 84±100 U/L for the responders and nonresponders, respectively (P<0.0154). The decline was then calculated for the ALT as a percentage decrease from baseline: at weeks 2 and 4, the decreases were 64% and 66%, respectively, for the responders, and 43% and 41%, respectively, for the nonresponders. At week 2, the delta values for WBC count were found to be significant in predicting failure to achieve an SVR, with mean ± SD delta values of 0.85× 109/L±1.48× 109/L and 1.53× 109/L±2.16× 109/L for the responders and nonresponders, respectively (P<0.0173). The same trend emerged at two weeks for neutrophils: 0.72× 109/L±1.33× 109/L for the responders and 1.02× 109/L±1.20× 109/L for the nonresponders (P<0.0150). The delta values were insignificant for hemoglobin, lowest hemoglobin values and platelets.
The decline rates of ALT from baseline to week 2 and 4 of IFN and RBV combination therapy are good predictors of an SVR. A significant drop in WBC and neutrophil values is a predictor of failure to achieve an SVR. The hemoglobin, platelets and lowest hemoglobin values failed to predict an SVR.
PMCID: PMC2659134  PMID: 18299740
ALT; Biochemistry; Hepatitis C; Interferon; Myelosuppression; Ribavirin
25.  The Effect of Peginterferon Alpha-2a vs. Peginterferon Alpha-2b in Treatment of Naive Chronic HCV Genotype-4 Patients: A Single Centre Egyptian Study 
Hepatitis Monthly  2013;13(5):e10069.
Egypt has one of the highest (16-8%) prevalence rates of HCV infection in the world. Approximately 90% of Egyptian HCV isolates belong to a single subtype (4a), which responds less successfully to interferon therapy than other subtypes. Studies comparing the efficacy and safety of PEGIFN alfa-2a and PEGIFN alfa-2b in treatment-naive HCV-infected patients have shown conflicting results.
Assessing the effects of Peginterferon alpha-2a versus Peginterferon alpha-2b on the sustained virological response in naive chronic HCV genotype-4 Egyptian patients.
Patients and Methods
This retrospective study cohort consists of 3718 chronic HCV patients admitted to a large, Egyptian medical center. 1985 patients had been treated with PEG-IFN alfa-2a plus RBV and 1733 patients with PEG-IFN alfa-2b plus RBV between years 2007-2011. Efficacy outcomes were sustained virologic response (SVR) and treatment discontinuation rates due to serious adverse effects.
The ETR & SVR in patients treated with PEGIFN alfa-2a was 64.1% and 59.6% as compared to treatment with PEGIFN alfa-2b where these parameters were 58.2% and 53.9% respectively (P < 0.05). Treatment discontinuation rates, were similar in the two types of PEGIFN [0.66 (0.37-1.16); P = 0.15]. Significant dose reduction was evident with peginterferon alfa-2b (35.3%) than peginterferon alpha-2a (27.3 %) (P < 0.01). Patients with lower base line AFP and ALT were most likely to achieve SVR using INF alpha 2-a.
Peginterferon alpha-2a has a higher efficacy regarding ETR and SVR as compared to Peginterferon alfa-2b in treatment of naive chronic HCV genotype-4 patients.
PMCID: PMC3732660  PMID: 23922556
Chronic Hepatitis C; Peginterferon-Alpha- 2a; Peginterferon-Alpha- 2b

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