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1.  Interferon-β-induced pulmonary sarcoidosis in a 30-year-old woman treated for multiple sclerosis: a case report 
With the increasing use of recombinant α and β interferon therapy for the treatment of various disorders, cases of interferon-associated sarcoidosis have been reported in the literature. The majority of these have been cases of interferon-α-induced sarcoidosis. We present the first case, to the best of our knowledge, of interferon-induced pulmonary sarcoidosis in a patient whose multiple sclerosis was treated with interferon-β.
Case presentation
We present the case of a 30-year-old Caucasian woman who presented with unusually persistent bilateral areas of lung consolidation on serial radiographs. Pulmonary sarcoidosis was diagnosed on transbronchial lung biopsy five months after the initiation of treatment with interferon-β for multiple sclerosis.
Sarcoidosis should be considered in the differential diagnosis of a patient who develops clinical or radiological pulmonary disease while undergoing interferon therapy. It is important to note that interferon-induced sarcoidosis, though usually seen in cases with interferon-α, can occur with interferon-β. Neurologists managing patients with multiple sclerosis should be aware of this association between interferon-β and sarcoidosis and promptly refer patients developing respiratory symptoms for further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3492064  PMID: 23043877
2.  Interferon-alpha-induced sarcoidosis in a patient being treated for hepatitis C 
Patient: Female, 43
Final Diagnosis: —
Symptoms: Diarrhea • generalized weakness • headache • lightheadedness • nausea • rash • short of breath • vomiting
Medication: —
Clinical Procedure: —
Specialty: Pulmonology
Rare diseae
IFN-alpha-2b in combination with ribavirin is now the standard of care for the treatment of hepatitis C. Sarcoidosis is a chronic multisystem granulomatous disorder characterized by noncaseating granulomas in the involved organs. The pathologic hallmark of sarcoidosis is the presence of noncaseating granulomas in the interstitium that typically involve the lymphatics.
Case Report:
A 43-year-old woman presented to our care with 2-week history of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, shortness of breath, migraine headache, maculopapular rash, generalized weakness, and lightheadedness. She had been treated for hepatitis C with telaprevir, ribavirin, and interferon-alpha-2b for 6 months. Chest radiograph showed bilateral diffuse prominence of bronchovascular markings. CT of the chest revealed bilateral diffuse centrilobular nodules with associated intralobular septal thickening, thickening of the central peribronchovascular interstitium, nodularity of the major fissures, and mediastinal lymphadenopathy. These findings were suspicious for atypical pulmonary sarcoidosis, possibly interferon-induced. The pathology of the mediastinal lymph node biopsy revealed noncaseating granulomatous inflammation consistent with the diagnosis of pulmonary sarcoidosis. Pathology of the skin punch biopsy showed giant-cell granulomatous inflammation without necrosis. The patient was started on prednisone 40 mg daily with a steroid tapering course for 8 weeks.
The management of IFN-induced sarcoidosis includes the discontinuation of IFN therapy with or without the administration of systemic corticosteroids. With the increasing prevalence of HCV in the United States, it is likely that more IFN-alpha-induced sarcoidosis will be encountered by clinicians.
PMCID: PMC4043539  PMID: 24900166
Hepatitis C; Interferons - adverse effects; Sarcoidosis - chemically induced
3.  Safety and efficacy of interferon-ribavirin combination therapy in HCV-HIV coinfected subjects: an early report 
Gut  2000;47(5):694-697.
BACKGROUND—More severe liver disease together with a poor response rate to α interferon argue for the use of more potent anti-hepatitis C virus (HCV) therapies in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-HCV coinfected patients, but the efficacy and safety of interferon-ribavirin combination therapy in HIV infected subjects are unknown.
AIM—To retrospectively evaluate the efficacy and safety of anti-HCV combination therapy in 21 HCV-HIV coinfected patients receiving antiretroviral therapy, and to access the clinical relevance of in vitro inhibition of phosphorylation by ribavirin of potent inhibitors of HIV—that is, zidovudine, stavudine, and zalcitabine.
PATIENTS—Twenty one patients were treated with combined antiretroviral therapy including zidovudine (n=8) or stavudine (n=13) (in association with protease inhibitors in 12). All received ribavirin (1000 or 1200 mg/day) and α interferon (3 MU three times/week) for chronic hepatitis C infection. All patients had not responded (n=20) or relapsed (n=1) after a previous six month course of α interferon therapy.
METHODS—HIV viral load (Monitor test) and CD4 cells count were measured at the beginning and every three months during and after ribavirin plus α interferon therapy over a mean period of 11 (1) months. Clinical and biological adverse effects were recorded.
RESULTS—There was no significant variation in HIV viral load or CD4 cell counts after three or six months of ribavirin therapy compared with baseline values. Of the 21 subjects, three (14%) had an increase in HIV viral load of more than 0.5 log leading to discontinuation of ribavirin in one. Eleven of 21 (52.4%) had initial negative HCV viraemia at three (n=10) or six (n=1) months but only six were polymerase chain reaction negative at the end of therapy, leading to rates for primary response and breakthrough of 23.8% and 28.5%, respectively. Six months after completion of therapy, three patients relapsed (14.3%) and three (14.3%) had sustained virological response. Median haemoglobin concentration decreased significantly after three and six months of ribavirin therapy (p= 0.0002 and p=0.0003, respectively) leading to withdrawal of therapy in one patient.
CONCLUSIONS—These preliminary results show that: (1) despite in vitro interactions between ribavirin, zidovudine, and stavudine, significant variation in HIV replication does not usually occur in HCV-HIV coinfected patients receiving ribavirin and different antiretroviral regimens, including zidovudine and stavudine; (2) α interferon and ribavirin combination therapy induced primary and sustained virological responses in 28.5% and 14.3% of treated subjects (who were previous non-responders to interferon therapy), respectively; (3) anaemia is a frequent adverse event. Such results should be confirmed in larger prospective trials.

Keywords: ribavirin; human immunodeficiency virus; hepatitis C virus; zidovudine; stavudine; antiretroviral therapy
PMCID: PMC1728127  PMID: 11034587
4.  Hepatitis C (chronic) 
BMJ Clinical Evidence  2010;2010:0921.
About 60% to 85% of people infected with hepatitis C virus will go on to develop chronic hepatitis C, which is now believed to affect 3% of the world's population.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of interventions in treatment-naïve people with chronic hepatitis C infection, but without liver decompensation? What are the effects of interventions in people with chronic hepatitis C infection, but without liver decompensation, who have not responded to interferon treatment? What are the effects of interventions in people with chronic hepatitis C infection, but without liver decompensation, who relapse after interferon treatment? What are the effects of interventions in people with chronic hepatitis C infection who also have HIV? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to April 2008 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the FDA and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
We found 35 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: interferon monotherapy; interferon alfa plus ribavirin; peginterferon monotherapy; and peginterferon plus ribavirin.
Key Points
Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is defined as persistent, detectable serum HCV RNA for a period greater than 6 months, with or without derangement in liver function tests. About 60% to 85% of people infected with HCV will go on to develop chronic hepatitis C, which is now believed to affect 3% of the world's population.Complications of chronic HCV infection include cirrhosis, compensated and decompensated liver disease, and hepatocellular carcinoma.Many people chronically infected with HCV remain asymptomatic, including a significant proportion of those who progress to cirrhosis, so routine screening of people in high-risk groups is advisable.
Interferon monotherapy produces a sustained virological response in both treatment-naïve people and people with cirrhosis or advanced fibrosis compared with placebo or no treatment. Interferon also improves liver histology, although it may not be effective in preventing hepatocellular carcinoma in people with cirrhosis.Efficacy is dependent on duration of treatment, with treatment for 12 months seeming more effective than treatment for 6 months. However, treatment for 12 months is associated with an increase in adverse effects.A dose of 6 MU of interferon three times weekly seems no more effective at achieving sustained virological response than 3 MU three times weekly, and is associated with an increased risk of adverse effects.
Adding ribavirin to interferon regimens further increases the likelihood of achieving sustained virological response, but also increases the risk of anaemia. Efficacy of combination therapy depends on genotype, with genotype 1-infected people typically requiring longer duration of treatment compared with genotype 2- and genotype 3-infected people.
Peginterferon monotherapy increases the proportion of treatment-naïve people who achieve sustained virological response compared with standard interferon monotherapy.
Adding ribavirin to peginterferon increases the likelihood of achieving sustained virological response compared with either peginterferon alone or standard interferon plus ribavirin. This is currently the standard recommended therapeutic approach.
In people previously non-responsive to interferon monotherapy, treatment with interferon alfa plus ribavirin increases the likelihood of achieving sustained virological response compared with interferon alone. This effect seems greater when the interferon dose is higher than 3 MU three times weekly, or the duration of the treatment is 12 months or greater.We don't know whether peginterferon as a monotherapy, or in combination with ribavirin, is effective in non-responders to interferon monotherapy. We don't know whether peginterferon plus ribavirin is more effective than interferon alfa plus ribavirin.
In people who relapse after interferon monotherapy, treatment with interferon plus ribavirin is more likely than interferon treatment alone to achieve sustained virological response (SVR). There is general consensus that peginterferon plus ribavirin is likely to improve the probability of achieving SVR in people who relapse after interferon monotherapy.We don't know whether peginterferon alone is effective at achieving SVR in people who relapse after interferon monotherapy.
In people co-infected with HCV and HIV, peginterferon plus ribavirin seems more effective than standard interferon plus ribavirin treatment or peginterferon alone at achieving SVR. Although interferon plus ribavirin seems less effective than peginterferon plus ribavirin, the proportion of people achieving SVR suggests that interferon plus ribavirin may be effective in people with HCV and HIV. We don't know whether interferon alone is effective in people co-infected with HCV and HIV.
PMCID: PMC2907607  PMID: 21718581
5.  Hypercalcemic crisis resulting from near drowning in an indoor public bath 
Male, 66
Final Diagnosis:
Hypercalcemic crisis
Near drowning state
Clinical Procedure:
Critical care medicine
Challenging differential diagnosis
Hypercalcemic crisis, generally caused by malignancy or primary hyperparathyroidism, is a life-threatening emergency that can result in multi-organ failure. Lowering the patient’s calcium level immediately and determining the correct etiology are essential.
Case Report:
We report a case of hypercalcemic crisis with a novel etiology. A 66-year-old male presented to the emergency room in cardiac arrest with a ventricular arrhythmia after being discovered submerged in an indoor public bath. He underwent cardioversion and was emergently intubated. Computed tomography showed bilateral pulmonary edema, suspected from water aspiration. Laboratory data revealed severe hypercalcemia and mild hypernatremia. Following three days of continuous hemodiafiltration, serum Ca decreased to and remained within normal limits. We concluded the etiology of hypercalcemia was absorption of Ca resulting from aspirated water.
Near drowning can be a cause of hypercalcemic crisis. For cases of near drowning, it is important to investigate the source of the aspirated water and consider electrolyte abnormalities in the diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC3700500  PMID: 23826470
hypercalcemia; near-drowning; emergency; hot springs
6.  Acute pericarditis due to pegylated interferon alpha therapy for chronic HCV hepatitis - Case report 
BMC Gastroenterology  2011;11:30.
Cardio toxicity due to interferon therapy was reported only in small case series or case reports. The most frequent cardiac adverse effects related to interferon are arrhythmias and ischemic manifestations. The cardiomyopathy and pericarditis are rare but can be life threatening. The predisposing factors for interferon cardio toxicity were described only for ischemic manifestations and arrhythmias.
Case presentation
The authors report a case of pericarditis due to alpha interferon therapy for chronic hepatitis C, in a young woman without previous cardiac pathology. The clinical manifestations started during the 7-th month of interferon treatment. The cessation of interferon was necessary. After interferon discontinuation the patient recovered, with complete resolution of pericarditis. The patient scored 9 points on the Naranjo ADR probability scale, indicating a very probable association between pericarditis and interferon administration.
If a patient receiving interferon therapy complains of chest pain of sudden onset, a cardiac ultrasound should be performed in order to rule out pericarditis. We point out the possibility of an infrequent but severe adverse effect of interferon therapy.
PMCID: PMC3079687  PMID: 21453456
7.  Transient Visual Loss in a Hepatitis C Patient Treated With Pegylated Interferon Alfa-2a and Ribavirin 
Hepatitis Monthly  2014;14(2):e15124.
Patients with Hepatitis C are commonly treated with combination of Pegylated Interferon alfa-2a and Ribavirin. Less than 1% of patients receiving this treatment experience very uncommon ophthalmological side effects such as optic neuropathy and vision disorder, which are usually subclinical, mild and reversible, not requiring the withdrawal of the treatment. Retinopathy is the most commonly reported ocular side effect of interferon use, usually presenting with cotton wool spots and retinal hemorrhages.
Case Presentation:
We represent a case of severe retinopathy and optic neuropathy in a patient with chronic hepatitis C genotype 3a infection, treated with the combination of PEG-IFN alfa-2a (180 mkg once weekly) and Ribavirin (1200 mg daily). Bilateral visual loss of both eyes developed at 11th week of therapy and changes in retina and optic nerve were observed. Fluorescein angiography and optical coherence tomography showed bilateral anterior ischemic optic neuropathy and macular edema. Visual acuity improved 1 month and fundoscopic changes were no longer present 6 months after the urgent permanent discontinuation of PEG-IFN treatment and the pulse steroid therapy followed by a 2 week course of oral prednisone.
In case of interferon-associated retinopathy discontinuation of the therapy and treatment with high dose steroids can be beneficial. The prognosis of interferon-associated opthalmological side effects remains uncertain: in some patients visual acuity improves, other continues with poor visual outcome. Considering that, all patients should undergo ophthalmologic examination before treatment with interferon and their ophthalmological status should be monitored regularly while receiving this therapy.
PMCID: PMC3950629  PMID: 24693308
Hepatitis C, Chronic; Peginterferon alfa-2a; Optic Nerve Diseases; Pulse Therapy, Drug
8.  Sarcoidosis and chronic hepatitis C: A case report 
Several case reports deal with the relationship between hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and pulmonary or hepatic sarcoidosis. Most publications describe interferon α-induced sarcoidosis. However, HCV infection per se is also suggested to cause sarcoidosis. The present case report describes a case of biopsy-verified lung and liver sarcoidosis and HCV infection, and the outcome of antiviral therapy. In March 2009, a 25-year-old man presented with moderately elevated liver enzymes without any clinical symptoms. The patient was positive for HCV antibodies and HCV RNA of genotype 1b. Four months later the patient became dyspnoic and pulmonary sarcoidosis was diagnosed by lung biopsy and radiography. A short course of corticosteroid treatment relieved symptoms. Three months later, liver biopsy showed noncaseating granulomas consisting of epithelioid histiocytes and giant cells with a small amount of peripheral lymphocyte infiltration, without any signs of fibrosis. Chronic HCV infection with coexistence of pulmonary and hepatic sarcoidosis was diagnosed. Antiviral therapy with peginterferon α and ribavirin at standard doses was started, which lasted 48 wk, and sustained viral response was achieved. A second liver biopsy showed disappearance of granulomas and chest radiography revealed normalization of mediastinal and perihilar glands. The hypothesis that HCV infection per se may have triggered systemic sarcoidosis was proposed. Successful treatment of HCV infection led to continuous remission of pulmonary and hepatic sarcoidosis. Further studies are required to understand the relationship between systemic sarcoidosis and HCV infection.
PMCID: PMC3484354  PMID: 23155326
Pulmonary and hepatic sarcoidosis; Hepatitis C virus infection; Sustained viral response; Peginterferon α; Ribavirin
9.  Childhood sarcoidosis: A rare but fascinating disorder 
Childhood sarcoidosis is a rare multisystemic granulomatous disorder of unknown etiology. In the pediatric series reported from the southeastern United States, sarcoidosis had a higher incidence among African Americans. Most reported childhood cases have occurred in patients aged 13–15 years. Macrophages bearing an increased expression of major histocompatibility class (MHC) II molecules most likely initiate the inflammatory response of sarcoidosis by presenting an unidentified antigen to CD4+ Th (helper-inducer) lymphocytes. A persistent, poorly degradable antigen driven cell-mediated immune response leads to a cytokine cascade, to granuloma formation, and eventually to fibrosis. Frequently observed immunologic features include depression of cutaneous delayed-type hypersensitivity and a heightened helper T cell type 1 (Th1) immune response at sites of disease. Circulating immune complexes, along with signs of B cell hyperactivity, may also be found. The clinical presentation can vary greatly depending upon the organs involved and age of the patient. Two distinct forms of sarcoidosis exist in children. Older children usually present with a multisystem disease similar to the adult manifestations, with frequent hilar lymphadenopathy and pulmonary infiltrations. Early-onset sarcoidosis is a unique form of the disease characterized by the triad of rash, uveitis, and arthritis in children presenting before four years of age. The diagnosis of sarcoidosis is confirmed by demonstrating a typical noncaseating granuloma on a biopsy specimen. Other granulmatous diseases should be reasonably excluded. The current therapy of choice for sarcoidosis in children with multisystem involvement is oral corticosteroids. Methotrexate given orally in low doses has been effective, safe and steroid sparing in some patients. Alternative immunosuppressive agents, such as azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, chlorambucil, and cyclosporine, have been tried in adult cases of sarcoidosis with questionable efficacy. The high toxicity profile of these agents, including an increased risk of lymphoproliferative disorders and carcinomas, has limited their use to patients with severe disease refractory to other agents. Successful steroid sparing treatment with mycophenolate mofetil was described in an adolescent with renal-limited sarcoidosis complicated by renal failure. Novel treatment strategies for sarcoidosis have been developed including the use of TNF-alpha inhibitors, such as infliximab. The long-term course and prognosis is not well established in childhood sarcoidosis, but it appears to be poorer in early-onset disease.
PMCID: PMC2559831  PMID: 18811966
10.  Ischemic colitis during interferon-ribavirin therapy for chronic hepatitis C: A case report 
Ischemic colitis is a rare complication of interferon administration. Only 9 cases in 6 reports have been described to-date. This report describes a case of ischemic colitis during pegylated interferon and ribavirin treatment for chronic hepatitis C, and includes a review of the relevant literature. A 48-year-old woman was treated with pegylated interferon α-2a and ribavirin for chronic hepatitis C, genotype Ib. After 19 wk of treatment, the patient complained of severe afebrile abdominal pain with hematochezia. Vital signs were stable and serum white blood cell count was within the normal range. Abdominal computed tomography showed diffuse colonic wall thickening from the splenic flexure to the proximal sigmoid colon, which is the most vulnerable area for the development of ischemic colitis. Colonoscopy revealed an acute mucosal hyperemic change, with edema and ulcerations extending from the proximal descending colon to the sigmoid colon. Colonic mucosal biopsy revealed acute exudative colitis. Polymerase chain reaction and culture for Mycobacterium tuberculosis were negative and the cultures for cytomegalovirus, Salmonella and Shigella species were negative. After discontinuation of interferon and ribavirin therapy, abdominal pain and hematochezia subsided and, following colonoscopy showed improvement of the mucosal ulcerations. Ischemic colitis cases during interferon therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis C reported so far have all involved the descending colon. Ischemic colitis is a rarely encountered complication of interferon administration in patients with chronic hepatitis C and should be considered when a patient complains of abdominal pain and hematochezia.
PMCID: PMC3422808  PMID: 22919260
Ischemia; Hepatitis C; Interferon
11.  Sarcoidosis with Multi-organ Involvement Presenting as Ventricular Tachycardia 
Sarcoidosis is a granulomatous disease which can affect any organ, but most commonly presents with pulmonary manifestations. We present an unusual case of sarcoidosis with multiorgan involvement which initially manifested as ventricular tachycardia; the patient was subsequently found to have extensive cardiac, respiratory, skin, and hepatic involvement.
Case Report:
An otherwise healthy 35-year-old African American soldier presented to emergency care with hypotension and tachycardia greater than 200 beats per minute. He was found to be in sustained ventricular tachycardia with a pulse. Defibrillation was performed, the patient was loaded with amiodarone, and hospitalized. Cardiac catheterization showed no evidence of atherosclerotic coronary artery disease. A cardiac MRI revealed high density lesions in the lateral wall and apex, and diffusely decreased left ventricular wall motion. An implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) was placed. Further questioning revealed a six month history of twenty pounds weight loss, persistent nasal congestion, and subcutaneous nodules. Biopsy of two subcutaneous nodules from the left upper extremity and nasal mucosa biopsy demonstrated noncaseating granulomas. His evaluation was notable for a mixed pattern hepatic injury, normocytic anemia, elevated lactate dehydrogenase, and a CT chest showing hilar and mediastinal adenopathy with multiple pulmonary nodules. Sarcoidosis was suspected and additional testing for HIV, EBV, vasculitis, lymphoma, fungal infection, and mycobacterial infection was negative. Pulmonary function tests showed normal basic spirometry and DLCO. Transthoracic echocardiogram demonstrated normal ejection fraction, and an 8mm cystic structure partially incorporated in the left ventricular wall. This was suspected to be a granulomatous accumulation. Sestamibi imaging showed a dense defect involving the apex and a medium sized, moderate severity, inferior wall defect consistent with an infiltrative process. Interrogation of his ICD six months after placement demonstrated no recurrence of arrhythmia. Initially, he was treated with 40mg prednisone daily. After a three-month course he had continued active disease and was treated with infliximab. His treatment is ongoing; lab parameters are improving.
Cardiac sarcoidosis is rare. Conduction abnormalities are the most common finding, and arrhythmias are second. Heart failure, valvular dysfunction, and chronic effusion are also frequently observed, and one case report describes a large left atrial mass which behaved like a myxoma. This patient's case is unusual because of his large degree of sinus and cardiac involvement, as well as his unusual left ventricular cystic structure. Sarcoidosis should be considered in all patients who have unexplained structural heart disease, particularly young individuals. Treatment of cardiac sarcoidosis is aimed at controlling inflammation and preventing compromise of cardiac structure or function. Sources agree that steroids are an effective initial treatment, but the initial dose and optimal duration are unclear. This patient's course suggests that infliximab is an efficacious treatment option in severe cases.
PMCID: PMC4175938
12.  Current treatment indications and strategies in chronic hepatitis B virus infection 
The optimal approach to the management of several marginal cases with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is controversial. Serum HBV DNA and aminotransferase levels, and the degree of necroinflammation and fibrosis determine the therapeutic decisions. All patients with elevated aminotransferase (> twice the upper limit of normal) and serum HBV DNA above 20 000 IU/mL should be treated. Liver biopsy is important for therapeutic decisions in cases with mild aminotransferase elevations and serum HBV DNA below 20 000 IU/mL. Chronic HBV patients who do not receive treatment should be followed for life. There are seven agents licensed for chronic hepatitis B: standard and pegylated interferon-alpha, lamivudine, adefovir, entecavir, telbivudine and tenofovir. One-year courses with pegylated interferon-alpha induce sustained off-therapy remission in 30%-32% of patients with HBeAg-positive chronic hepatitis B and in a smaller proportion of patients with HBeAg-negative chronic hepatitis B. Oral antivirals achieve initial on-therapy responses in the majority of patients, but are intended as long-term therapies. Viral suppression has favourable effects on patients’ outcome and modifies the natural course of the disease. Viral resistance, however, is the major drawback of long-term oral antiviral therapy. Lamivudine monotherapy is associated with the highest and entecavir monotherapy with the lowest resistance rate so far. There has been no resistance to tenofovir, but after only 18 mo of treatment to date. The optimal first-line anti-HBV therapy with the best long-term cost/benefit ratio remains unclear. If oral antiviral agents are used, compliance should always be ascertained and HBV DNA levels should be regularly tested.
PMCID: PMC2773851  PMID: 19058323
Hepatitis B; Hepatitis B virus DNA; Interferon; Antivirals; Resistance
13.  Hypercalcemic crisis due to adult T cell leukemia: a rare cause of paralytic ileus 
Annals of Gastroenterology  2012;25(2):170-172.
Adult T cell leukemia- lymphoma is a rare aggressive malignancy of the peripheral T lymphocytes, caused by human T cell lymphotropic virus -1 (HTLV-1) infection. Hypercalcemia occurs in about 70% of patients with acute adult T cell leukemia. However, there are very few case reports of adult T cell leukemia presenting as a hypercalcemic crisis. We report a case of a 54-year-old male who presented with abdominal pain, constipation and altered sensorium. On examination he had generalized lymphadenopathy, hepatosplenomegaly and paralytic ileus. Investigation revealed hypercalcemic crisis with low parathormone (PTH) levels. Peripheral smear and bone marrow aspirate were consistent with adult T cell leukemia. HTLV-1 serology was positive. Despite the corrective measures for hypercalcemia and chemotherapy, he succumbed to the illness in a week.
PMCID: PMC3959384  PMID: 24714244
paralytic ileus; hypercalcemic crisis; adult T cell leukemia; human T cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV) -1
14.  Depression in Hepatitis B and C, and Its Correlation With Hepatitis Drugs Consumption (Interfron/Lamivodin/Ribaverin) 
Objective: Chronic infection of hepatitis B and hepatitis C are considered as the most important infectious diseases, which lead to drastic consequences such as liver dysfunction. Depression is a psychiatric disorder which is concomitantly present in these patients, and decreases the patients’ quality of life. It may lead to suicide, homicide or intentional transmission of infectious to others. Medical treatment with interferon can also lead to depression which is comparable to the depression caused by disease.
Methods: We performed a cross sectional study on 205 patients with hepatitis B and hepatitis C infection. We aimed to determine the prevalence of depression via Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and its correlates with hepatitis drugs.
Results: Of 205 patients, 154 cases had hepatitis B and 51 cases had hepatitis C infection. The frequency of depression was 68% in hepatitis B and 86% in hepatitis C infected patients (p<0.05). The frequency of mild depression was 14%, moderate depression was 57.3% and severe depression was 28.7% (p<0.05). Depression frequency in Interferon recipients was 100%, in interferon-ribavirin recipients was 94.4%, in lamivudine recipients was 64%, and in patients that receive no drug was 66.7%. Depression prevalence was significantly higher among those on interferon therapy (p<0.05).
Conclusion: There is a high prevalence of depression among patients with hepatitis B and hepatitis C infection, especially patients on interferon therapy. Hence these patients should be repeatedly evaluated for depression.
Declaration of Interest: None.
PMCID: PMC3939977  PMID: 24644496
Chronic Hepatitis B; Chronic Hepatitis C; Depression Prevalence
15.  Lamivudine and alpha interferon combination treatment of patients with chronic hepatitis B infection: a randomised trial 
Gut  2000;46(4):562-568.
BACKGROUND, AIM, AND METHODS—Alpha interferon is the generally approved therapy for HBe antigen positive patients with chronic hepatitis B, but its efficacy is limited. Lamivudine is a new oral nucleoside analogue which potently inhibits hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA replication. To investigate the possibility of an additive effect of interferon-lamivudine combination therapy compared with interferon or lamivudine monotherapy, we conducted a randomised controlled trial in 230 predominantly Caucasian patients with hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) and HBV DNA positive chronic hepatitis B. Previously untreated patients were randomised to receive: combination therapy of lamivudine 100 mg daily with alpha interferon 10 million units three times weekly for 16 weeks after pretreatment with lamivudine for eight weeks (n=75); alpha interferon 10 million units three times weekly for 16 weeks (n=69); or lamivudine 100 mg daily for 52 weeks (n=82). The primary efficacy end point was the HBeAg seroconversion rate at week 52 (loss of HBeAg, development of antibodies to HBeAg and undetectable HBV DNA).
RESULTS—The HBeAg seroconversion rate at week 52 was 29% for the combination therapy, 19% for interferon monotherapy, and 18% for lamivudine monotherapy (p=0.12 and p=0.10, respectively, for comparison of the combination therapy with interferon or lamivudine monotherapy). The HBeAg seroconversion rates at week 52 for the combination therapy and lamivudine monotherapy were significantly different in the per protocol analysis (36% (20/56) v 19% (13/70), respectively; p=0.02). The effect of combining lamivudine and interferon appeared to be most useful in patients with moderately elevated alanine aminotransferase levels at baseline. Adverse events with the combination therapy were similar to interferon monotherapy; patients receiving lamivudine monotherapy had significantly fewer adverse events.
CONCLUSIONS—HBeAg seroconversion rates at one year were similar for lamivudine monotherapy (52 weeks) and standard alpha interferon therapy (16 weeks). The combination of lamivudine and interferon appeared to increase the HBeAg seroconversion rate, particularly in patients with moderately elevated baseline aminotransferase levels. The potential benefit of combining lamivudine and interferon should be investigated further in studies with different regimens of combination therapy.

Keywords: chronic hepatitis B; hepatitis B virus; nucleoside analogue; lamivudine; alpha interferon; combination therapy; HBeAg seroconversion
PMCID: PMC1727894  PMID: 10716688
16.  Severe thrombocytopenia in a patient with inosine triphosphatase (ITPA)–CC genotype caused by pegylated interferon (IFN)-α-2a with ribavirin therapy: a case report 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7:141.
Pegylated interferon combined with ribavirin treatment is an effective therapy for chronic hepatitis C viral infection. However, pegylated interferon combined with ribavirin is associated with various adverse reactions. Severe thrombocytopenia is a life-threatening side effect of interferon therapy that can lead to bleeding. It is generally understood that the inosine triphosphatase-CC genotype does not have a significantly lower reduction by pegylated interferon combined with ribavirin in the mean platelet counts compared with the AA/CA genotype. We report a case of severe thrombocytopenia that developed in a patient with chronic hepatitis C treated with pegylated interferon combined with ribavirin in spite of having the inosine triphosphatase-CC genotype.
Case presentation
A 57-year-old female had been diagnosed as having HCV infection in 2008. The inosine triphosphatase gene showed one single nucleotide polymorphism (rs1127354) C/C (major homozygous) and the IL28B gene showed single nucleotide polymorphism (rs8099917 T/T, rs11881222 T/T) (major homozygous). The patient was treated with pegylated interferon 180 μg once a week combined with ribavirin 600 mg per day from April 2011. The hepatitis c virus ribonucleic acid turned negative 9 weeks after treatment with pegylated interferon combined with ribavirin. During the therapy, the platelet count remained above 8.0 × 104/μl for about 9 months. In January 2012, the platelet count was 6.8 × 104/μl. In February 2012, the 44th week from the beginning of the treatment, a sudden decrease in the platelet count to 0.8 × 104/μl was observed. After prednisolone was administered, the platelet count increased. Finally the platelet count had risen above normal range.
We should pay careful attention in the differential diagnosis for patients with the inosine triphosphatase-CC genotype because, although rare, severe thrombocytopenia could occur.
PMCID: PMC3995698  PMID: 24621321
Hepatitis C; ITPA; Pegylated interferon; Thrombocytopenia
17.  IL28B, HLA-C, and KIR Variants Additively Predict Response to Therapy in Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection in a European Cohort: A Cross-Sectional Study 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(9):e1001092.
Vijayaprakash Suppiah and colleagues show that genotyping hepatitis C patients for the IL28B, HLA-C, and KIR genes improves the ability to predict whether or not patients will respond to antiviral treatment.
To date, drug response genes have not proved as useful in clinical practice as was anticipated at the start of the genomic era. An exception is in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1 infection with pegylated interferon-alpha and ribavirin (PegIFN/R). Viral clearance is achieved in 40%–50% of patients. Interleukin 28B (IL28B) genotype predicts treatment-induced and spontaneous clearance. To improve the predictive value of this genotype, we studied the combined effect of variants of IL28B with human leukocyte antigen C (HLA-C), and its ligands the killer immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR), which have previously been implicated in HCV viral control.
Methods and Findings
We genotyped chronic hepatitis C (CHC) genotype 1 patients with PegIFN/R treatment-induced clearance (n = 417) and treatment failure (n = 493), and 234 individuals with spontaneous clearance, for HLA-C C1 versus C2, presence of inhibitory and activating KIR genes, and two IL28B SNPs, rs8099917 and rs12979860. All individuals were Europeans or of European descent. IL28B SNP rs8099917 “G” was associated with absence of treatment-induced clearance (odds ratio [OR] 2.19, p = 1.27×10−8, 1.67–2.88) and absence of spontaneous clearance (OR 3.83, p = 1.71×10−14, 2.67–5.48) of HCV, as was rs12979860, with slightly lower ORs. The HLA-C C2C2 genotype was also over-represented in patients who failed treatment (OR 1.52, p = 0.024, 1.05–2.20), but was not associated with spontaneous clearance. Prediction of treatment failure improved from 66% with IL28B to 80% using both genes in this cohort (OR 3.78, p = 8.83×10−6, 2.03–7.04). There was evidence that KIR2DL3 and KIR2DS2 carriage also altered HCV treatment response in combination with HLA-C and IL28B.
Genotyping for IL28B, HLA-C, and KIR genes improves prediction of HCV treatment response. These findings support a role for natural killer (NK) cell activation in PegIFN/R treatment-induced clearance, partially mediated by IL28B.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
About 170 million people harbor long-term (chronic) infections with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and 3–4 million people are newly infected with the virus every year. HCV—a leading cause of chronic hepatitis (inflammation of the liver)—is spread though contact with infected blood. Transmission can occur during medical procedures (for example, transfusions with unscreened blood or reuse of inadequately sterilized medical instruments) but in developed countries, where donated blood is routinely screened for HCV, the most common transmission route is needle-sharing among intravenous drug users. HCV infection can cause a short-lived illness characterized by tiredness and jaundice (yellow skin and eyes) but 70%–80% of newly infected people progress to a symptom-free, chronic infection that can eventually cause liver cirrhosis (scarring) and liver cancer. HCV infections can be treated with a combination of two drugs—pegylated interferon-alpha and ribavirin (PegIFN/R). However, PegIFN/R is expensive, causes unpleasant side-effects, and is ineffective in about half of people infected with HCV genotype 1, the commonest HCV strain.
Why Was This Study Done?
It would be extremely helpful to be able to identify which patients will respond to PegIFN/R before starting treatment. An individual's genetic make-up plays a key role in the safety and effectiveness of drugs. Thus, pharmacogenomics—the study of how genetic variants affects the body's response to drugs—has the potential to alter the clinical management of many diseases by allowing clinicians to provide individually tailored drug treatments. In 2009, scientists reported that certain single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, a type of genetic variant) lying near the IL28B gene (which encodes an immune system protein made in response to viral infections) strongly influence treatment outcomes and spontaneous clearance in HCV-infected people. This discovery is now being used to predict treatment responses to PegIFN/R in clinical practice but genotyping (analysis of variants of) IL28B only correctly predicts treatment failure two-thirds of the time. Here, the researchers investigate whether genotyping two additional regions of the genome—the HLA-C and KIR gene loci—can improve the predictive value of IL28B genotyping. Human leukocyte antigen C (HLA-C) and the killer immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) are interacting proteins that have been implicated in HCV viral control.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers genotyped 417 patients chronically infected with HCV genotype 1 whose infection had been cleared by PegIFN/R treatment, 493 patients whose infection had not responded to treatment, and 234 patients whose infection had cleared spontaneously for two HLA-C variants (C1 and C2), the presence of several KIR genes (individuals carry different combinations of KIR genes), and two IL28B SNPs (rs8099917 and rs12979860). Carriage of “variants” of either IL28B SNP was associated with absence of treatment-induced clearance and absence of spontaneous clearance. That is, these variant SNPs were found more often in patients who did not respond to treatment than in those who did respond, and more often in patients who did not have spontaneous clearance of their infection than those who did. The HLA-C C2C2 genotype (there are two copies of most genes in the genome) was also more common in patients who failed treatment than in those who responded but was not associated with spontaneous clearance. The rate of correct prediction of treatment failure increased from 66% with IL28B genotyping alone to 80% with combined IL28B and HLA-C genotyping. Finally, carriage of specific KIR genes in combination with specific HLA-C and IL28B variants was also associated with an altered HCV treatment response.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that the addition of HCL-C and KIR genotyping to IL28B genotyping improved the prediction of HCV treatment response in the patients investigated in this study. Because all these patients were European or of European descent, these findings need confirming in people of other ethnic backgrounds. They also need confirming in other groups of Europeans before being used in a clinical setting. However, the discovery that the addition of HLA-C genotyping to IL28B genotyping raises the rate of correct prediction of PegIFN/R treatment failure to 80% is extremely promising and should improve the clinical management of patients infected with HCV genotype 1. In addition, these results provide new insights into how PegIFN/R clears HCV infections that may lead to improved therapies in the future.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The World Health Organization provides detailed information about hepatitis C (in several languages)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on hepatitis C for the public and for health professionals (information is also available in Spanish)
The US National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases provides basic information on hepatitis C (in English and Spanish)
The Hepatitis C Trust is a patient-led, patient-run UK charity that provides detailed information about hepatitis C and support for patients and their families; a selection of personal stories about patients' experiences with hepatitis C is available, including Phil's treatment story, which details the ups and downs of treatment with PegIFN/R
MedlinePlus provides links to further resources on hepatitis C
The Human Genome Project provides information about medicine and the new genetics, including a primer on pharmacogenomics
PMCID: PMC3172251  PMID: 21931540
18.  Multisystem Sarcoidosis in a Patient on Interferon-α Therapy for Chronic Hepatitis C 
Sarcoidosis is a chronic multisystemic granulomatous disease that is triggered by an autoimmune process. Nowadays, this pathology represents a well-recognized but uncommon complication for antiviral treatment in hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Herein, we report a remarkable case of 47-year-old woman treated for chronic HCV infection; the patient has developed interferon alfa-induced sarcoidosis involving the central nervous system. The evolution was fatal despite disrupting the antiviral therapy and initiating a high-dose corticotherapy. This complication of interferon alfa treatment was reported in the literature in only one case. Through this case and a review of the literature, we aim to underline the importance of screening for sarcoidosis before and during the follow-up of HCV patients undergoing antiviral therapy.
PMCID: PMC3385203  PMID: 22754249
Chronic hepatitis C; Complication; Interferon alfa; Neurosarcoidosis; Treatment
19.  Hepatic Sarcoidosis Mimicking Hilar Cholangiocarcinoma: Case Report and Review of the Literature 
Case Reports in Gastroenterology  2011;5(1):152-158.
Sarcoidosis is a multisystemic granulomatous disease of unknown etiology. Hepatic involvement was reported in about 11% of patients with sarcoidosis. However, cases of sarcoidosis in which the granuloma is solitary and limited in the liver are very rare. A 51-year-old woman with tumors in the liver underwent extended left lobectomy with caudate lobectomy and bile duct resection. The tumor was located between segment 4 and the hilar region. Some daughter nodules were found in the left lobe, which were regarded as intrahepatic metastasis. Our case displayed clinical and radiologically distinct findings, which are very similar to those of hilar cholangiocarcinoma restricted to the liver. This report demonstrates that sarcoidosis can show solitary hepatic involvement in the absence of thoracic lymphadenopathy. In such a case, it is difficult to distinguish the diagnosis from other malignant neoplasms. In conclusion, the diagnosis of hepatic sarcoidosis has to be made through prudent and comprehensive investigations that include a full clinical history of sarcoidosis in other organs. Despite utilizing several detailed diagnostic modalities, the definitive diagnosis of cases of solitary sarcoidosis may remain difficult. In these cases, surgical treatment including liver resection should be considered in order to avoid missing a suitable opportunity for treatment.
PMCID: PMC3088740  PMID: 21552437
Sarcoidosis; Hepatic sarcoidosis; Hepatic granulomas; Hilar cholangiocarcinoma
20.  Sustained hypothyroidism induced by recombinant alpha interferon in patients with chronic hepatitis C. 
Gut  1992;33(6):855-856.
Thyroid dysfunction has been reported in patients with malignant disease treated with recombinant alpha interferon. Two cases of hypothyroidism in patients with chronic hepatitis C treated with recombinant alpha interferon are reported. In one patient, interferon induced hypothyroidism in the absence of pre-existing thyroid dysfunction and in the other it aggravated a pre-existing thyroid dysfunction. Both patients developed a severe, sustained hypothyroidism requiring thyroxine treatment for one year or more after stopping alpha interferon. Diagnosis of hypothyroidism during treatment can be difficult because of the common side effects of alpha interferon. Thyroid function should be assessed before and during alpha interferon therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis C.
PMCID: PMC1379349  PMID: 1624172
21.  Cutaneous Sarcoidosis: An Uncommon Side Effect of Pegylated Interferon and Ribavirin Use for Chronic Hepatitis C 
Case Reports in Gastroenterology  2009;3(3):366-371.
The treatment of chronic hepatitis C (CHC) has evolved in the past 15 years and combination of pegylated interferon plus ribavirin is its current standard therapy. However, several side effects are commonly observed and frequently lead to transient or definitive interruption of treatment. Although sarcoidosis in its systemic or cutaneous form is a very rare side effect in such circumstances, some cases have been reported even with conventional interferon. This brief review of the literature and description of a case of sarcoidosis occurring in a tattoo and a scar patient's face, during treatment with pegylated interferon alpha-2b plus ribavirin, is an educative report directed in special to dermatologists. The lesion improved after drug interruption and recurred after retreatment with pegylated interferon alpha-2a. We conclude that this side effect must call the attention of doctors to seek for the diagnosis and therapy as soon as possible in such circumstances. No differences were noticed neither with alpha-2a nor alpha-2b pegylated interferon employment.
PMCID: PMC2988931  PMID: 21103255
Sarcoidosis; Hepatitis C; Interferon; Pegylated interferon alpha; Granulomatous dermatitis; Tattoo
22.  Acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy after treatment with pegylated interferon alfa-2a in a patient with chronic hepatitis C virus infection: a case report 
The combination of polyethylene glycol (PEG)ylated interferon (pegylated interferon) and ribavirin has been shown to be an effective treatment for chronic hepatitis C virus. In general, common side effects related to this combination therapy are mild and are well tolerated. However, peripheral neuropathy including demyelinating polyneuropathy related to PEG-interferon α2a (pegylated interferon alfa-2a) is extremely rare. In the literature, only one case of acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy related to PEG-interferon α2a has been published previously.
Case presentation
To the best of our knowledge we present only the second case of acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy related to PEG-interferon α2a, occurring in a 63-year-old Caucasian man. He developed tingling, numbness, and weakness of his upper and lower extremities with acute neurological deficits after five weeks of a combination therapy with PEG-interferon α2a and ribavirin for chronic hepatitis C virus infection. His clinical course, neurological findings, and his electromyogram results were all consistent with acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy. Our patient recovered completely after interferon was stopped and symptomatic treatment and a further electromyogram showed a disappearance of neuropathy. Four weeks later, PEG-interferon α2a was reintroduced with a gradually increasing dose without any reappearance of neurological symptoms allowing hepatitis C seroconversion.
Recognition of this rare yet possible presentation is important for early and accurate diagnosis and treatment. This case report also suggests that the reintroduction of PEGylated interferon in patients who had presented with acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy related to interferon α may be safe, but this must be confirmed by further studies.
PMCID: PMC3459811  PMID: 22947101
Inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy; Neuropathy; PEGylated interferon; Viral hepatitis C infection
23.  Cutaneous and pulmonary sarcoidosis following treatment of multiple sclerosis with interferon-β-1b: a case report 
Several cases of sarcoidosis following treatment with interferon-α have been reported in the literature, but those following interferon-β are very rare. We report the case of a patient with multiple sclerosis who developed pulmonary and cutaneous sarcoidosis following treatment with Betaseron® (interferon-β-1b).
Case presentation
A 33-year-old Caucasian woman with a history of multiple sclerosis, treated with interferon-β-1b for 2.5 years developed erythema nodosum in her lower limbs, a breast abscess, and unilateral adenopathy of her left lung. A skin biopsy confirmed sarcoidosis. After the discontinuation of interferon-β-1b and treatment with indomethacin and prednisolone, she recovered.
Sarcoidosis is considered one of the most common multiple sclerosis imitators with involvement of the central nervous system. However, although rare, sarcoidosis can develop following treatment with interferon-β-1b and should be considered in patients with multiple sclerosis treated with beta-interferons who develop pulmonary or extra-pulmonary manifestations of sarcoidosis. Interferon-β-1b discontinuation is the first and most important step in the treatment of such cases followed by treatment with corticosteroids.
PMCID: PMC3917520  PMID: 24330713
Interferon-β; Multiple sclerosis; Sarcoidosis
24.  Severe acute exacerbation of chronic hepatitis B during pegylated interferon treatment and early intervention with corticosteroid 
Virology Journal  2012;9:136.
Severe acute exacerbation or liver failure induced by standard interferon-α(IFN-α) therapy had been reported to occur in few patients with chronic hepatitis B. However, no report showed that pegylated interferon-α therapy was able to induce severe acute exacerbation of chronic hepatitis B. Here, we describe three patients with severe acute exacerbation of chronic hepatitis B during pegylated interferon-α2a (Pegasys) treatment. One patient progressed into acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF) at the second week of Pegasys treatment. Two patients progressed into acute-on-chronic pre-liver failure (pre-ACLF) at the second and eighth week of Pegasys treatment, respectively. Three patients recovered after early combined intervention with corticosteroid and lamivudine. Our data indicated that there was a risk of severe acute exacerbation among patients with chronic hepatitis B during receiving Pegasys treatment. Importantly, early combined intervention with corticosteroid and lamivudine should be introduced to prevent the disease progression and improve their prognosis once severe acute exacerbation was diagnosed.
PMCID: PMC3409068  PMID: 22828242
Chronic hepatitis B; Acute-on-chronic liver failure; Severe acute exacerbation; Corticosteroid; Pegylated interferon
25.  Rituximab therapy for pure red cell aplasia due to anti-epoetin antibodies in a woman treated with epoetin-alfa: a case report 
Pure red cell aplasia due to anti-epoetin antibodies is a known complication of epoetin therapy for anemia due to chronic kidney disease. This disease has not previously been well described in the setting of therapy for chronic hepatitis C virus infection. While treatment for pure red cell aplasia due to anti-epoetin antibodies is usually with immunosuppressive therapy such as calcineurin inhibition, the safety of this treatment in chronic hepatitis C virus infection is unknown. To date, little has been published on the efficacy of rituximab on pure red cell aplasia due to anti-epoetin antibodies.
Case presentation
This report describes a 65-year-old Asian-American woman who developed pure red cell aplasia from high titer neutralizing anti-epoetin antibodies after epoetin-alfa therapy during ribavirin and peg-interferon treatment for chronic hepatitis C virus infection. We describe the outcome of her treatment with rituximab. The reticulocyte count increased, and anti-epoetin antibody titer decreased with a loss of neutralizing activity in vitro, leading to a reduction in blood transfusions, and eventual resolution of anemia, without reactivation of hepatitis C virus.
The diagnosis of pure red cell aplasia from anti-epoetin antibodies should be considered in patients undergoing therapy for chronic hepatitis C virus infection who develop severe anemia after administration of erythropoietin or darbepoetin. Though it is currently an off-label indication, rituximab is a therapeutic option for patients with pure red cell aplasia due to anti-epoetin antibodies.
PMCID: PMC2737792  PMID: 19830190

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