It has been reported that inosine triphosphatase (ITPA) gene variants protect against ribavirin-induced anemia in patients treated for chronic hepatitis C. IL28B variants also influence the treatment response of peginterferon plus ribavirin treatment in these patients. In the present study, we examined how ITPA and IL28B genotypes have clinical impacts on treatment-induced hematotoxicities and treatment response in HCV-infected patients treated with peginterferon plus ribavirin. ITPA genotypes (rs1127354 and rs6051702) and IL28B genotype (rs8099917) were determined by TaqMan SNP assay. We compared clinical background, treatment course and treatment response in terms of these genotypes. Only IL28B rs8099917 major type could predict sustained virological response. ITPA rs1127354 major type leads to significantly greater ribavirin-induced anemia than ITPA rs1127354 minor type between days 0 and 84. We noticed that IL28B rs8099917 minor genotype was associated with higher reduction of neutrophils and platelets. ITPA rs1127354 is useful for the prediction of ribavirin-induced anemia in the early phase after the commencement of peginterferon plus ribavirin treatment and IL28B rs8099917 is useful for the prediction of sustained virological response. Use of the combination of these two genotypes could lead to safe and effective treatment of chronic hepatitis C patients.
Anemia; HCV; IL28B; ITPA; SNP; sustained virological response
Polymorphisms of the ITPA gene have been associated with anemia during combination therapy in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-monoinfected patients. Our aim was to confirm this association in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients. In this prospective, observational study, 73 HIV/HCV-coinfected patients treated with pegylated interferon plus ribavirin (RBV) were enrolled. Two single nucleotide polymorphisms within or adjacent to the ITPA gene (rs1127354 and rs7270101) were genotyped. The associations between the ITPA genotype and anemia or treatment outcome were examined. Fifty-nine patients (80.8%) had CC at rs1127354, whereas 14 (19.2%) had a CA/AA ITPA genotype. Percent decreases from baseline hemoglobin level were significantly greater in patients with the CC genotype than in those with the CA/AA genotype at week 4 (P = 0.0003), week 12 (P < 0.0001), and week 36 (P = 0.0102) but not at the end of treatment. RBV dose reduction was more often needed in patients with the CC genotype than in those with the CA/AA genotype (odds ratio [OR] = 11.81; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.45 to 256.17; P = 0.0039), as was erythropoietin therapy (OR = 8.28; 95% CI = 1.04 to 371.12; P = 0.0057). Risk factors independently associated with percent hemoglobin nadir decrease were RBV dose reduction (OR = 11.72; 95% CI = 6.82 to 16.63; P < 0.001), baseline hemoglobin (OR = 1.69; 95% CI = 0.23 to 3.15; P = 0.024), and body mass index (OR = −0.7; 95% CI = −1.43 to 0.03; P = 0.061). ITPA polymorphism was not an independent predictor of sustained virological response. Polymorphisms at rs1127354 in the ITPA gene influence hemoglobin levels during combination HCV therapy and the need for RBV dose reduction and erythropoietin use in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients.
Published studies have described a strong association with a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the inosine triphosphate pyrophosphatase (ITPA) gene and ribavirin (RBV)-induced hemolytic anemia in HCV-infected patients receiving pegylated interferon (pegIFN) and RBV. This study sought to evaluate the effect of these polymorphisms on anemia, hemoglobin reduction, HCV kinetics, and treatment outcomes. Sixty-three patients coinfected with HIV and HCV and 58 patients infected with HCV only were treated with pegIFN/RBV were genotyped using the ABI Taq-Man allelic discrimination kit for the 2 ITPA SNP variants rs1127354 and rs7270101. A composite variable of ITPA deficiency using both SNPs was created as previously reported. Statistical analysis was performed using Mann-Whitney test or Chi square/Fishers exact test for categorical data and mixed model analysis for multiple variables. Thirty-five patients (30%) were predicted to have reduced ITPA activity. ITPA deficiency was found to be protective against the development of hemoglobin reduction >3 g/dl over the course of treatment. The rates of hemoglobin reduction >3 g/dl decreased in correlation with the severity of ITPA deficiency. ITPA deficiency was associated with slower hemoglobin decline early in treatment (week 4, P = 0.020) and rapid virologic response (RVR) at week 4 (P = 0.017) in patients coinfected with HIV and HCV. ITPA polymorphisms are associated with hemoglobin decline and in patients coinfected with HIV and HCV it is also associated with early virologic outcomes. Determination of ITPA polymorphisms may allow prediction of RBV-induced anemia and earlier initiation of supportive care to ensure optimal therapeutic outcomes.
ribavirin-induced hemolytic anemia; ITPA; HIV/HCV; pharmacogenomics
BACKGROUND & AIMS
In a genome-wide association study of patients being treated for chronic hepatitis C, 2 functional variants in ITPA that cause inosine triphosphatase (ITPase) deficiency were shown to protect against ribavirin (RBV)-induced hemolytic anemia during early stages of treatment. We aimed to replicate this finding in an independent cohort from the Study of Viral Resistance to Antiviral Therapy of Chronic Hepatitis C and to investigate the effects of these variants beyond week 4.
Genetic material was available from 318 patients. The ITPA variants, rs1127354 (exon 2, P32T) and rs7270101 (intron 2, splice altering), were genotyped and tested for association with hemoglobin (Hb) reduction at week 4. An ITPase deficiency variable was defined that combined both ITPA variants according to documented effect on ITPase activity. We investigated the impact of ITPA variants on Hb levels over the course of therapy and on the need for RBV dose reduction.
The final analysis included 304 patients with genotype 1 hepatitis C virus (167 white patients and 137 black patients). The polymorphisms rs1127354 and rs7270101 were associated with Hb reduction at week 4 (P = 3.1 × 10−13 and 1.3 × 10−3, respectively). The minor alleles of each variant protected against Hb reduction. Combining the variants into the ITPase deficiency variable strengthened the association (P = 2.4 × 10−18). The ITPase deficiency variable was associated with lower rates of anemia over the entire treatment period (48 weeks), as well as a lower rate of anemia-related RBV dose reduction (hazard ratio, 0.52; P = .0037). No association with sustained virological response was observed.
Two polymorphisms that cause ITPase deficiency are strongly associated with protection from RBV-induced hemolytic anemia and decrease the need for RBV dose reduction.
Pharmacogenomics; Genome-Wide Association Study; Polymorphism; Single Nucleotide Polymorphism; HCV; Adverse Event
Background. Pegylated interferon, ribavirin, and telaprevir triple therapy is a new strategy expected to eradicate the hepatitis C virus (HCV) even in patients infected with difficult-to-treat genotype 1 strains, although adverse effects, such as anemia and rash, are frequent.
Methods. We assessed efficacy and predictive factors for sustained virological response (SVR) for triple therapy in 94 Japanese patients with HCV genotype 1. We included recently identified predictive factors, such as IL28B and ITPA polymorphism, and substitutions in the HCV core and NS5A proteins.
Results. Patients treated with triple therapy achieved comparatively high SVR rates (73%), especially among treatment-naive patients (80%). Of note, however, patients who experienced relapse during prior pegylated interferon plus ribavirin combination therapy were highly likely to achieve SVR while receiving triple therapy (93%); conversely, prior nonresponders were much less likely to respond to triple therapy (32%). In addition to prior treatment response, IL28B SNP genotype and rapid viral response were significant independent predictors for SVR. Patients with the anemia-susceptible ITPA SNP rs1127354 genotype typically required ribavirin dose reduction earlier than did patients with other genotypes.
Conclusions. Analysis of predictive factors identified IL28B SNP, rapid viral response, and transient response to previous therapy as significant independent predictors of SVR after triple therapy.
Background. A recent genome-wide association study reported a strong association with a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the inosine triphosphate (ITPA) gene and hemolytic anemia in patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) receiving pegylated interferon and ribavirin. We investigate these polymorphisms in a cohort of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/HCV–coinfected patients.
Methods. DNA was available for 161 patients with validated outcomes. We analyzed the association between the variants and week 4 hemoglobin reduction. Anemia over the course of therapy, ribavirin (RBV) dose reduction, serum RBV level, and rapid virological response (RVR) and sustained virological response (SVR) were also investigated. Using a candidate gene approach, ITPA variants rs1127354 and rs7270101 were tested using the ABI TaqMan kit. Multivariable models were used to identify predictors of anemia.
Results. A significant minority (33%) of patients were predicted to have reduced ITPase activity. The minor allele of each variant was associated with protection against week 4 anemia. In multivariable models only the genetic variants, creatinine, and zidovudine exposure remained significant. ITPase deficiency was not associated with RBV-dose reduction, RVR, or SVR.
Conclusions. This study confirms that polymorphisms in the ITPA gene are associated with protection from RBV-induced anemia in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients but not improved clinical outcomes.
The influence of genetic polymorphism in inosine triphosphate pyrophosphatase (ITPA) on thiopurine-induced adverse events has not been investigated in the context of combination chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). This study investigated the effects of a common ITPA variant allele (rs41320251) on mercaptopurine metabolism and toxicity during treatment of children with ALL. Significantly higher concentrations of methyl mercaptopurine nucleotides were found in patients with the nonfunctional ITPA allele. Moreover, there was a significantly higher probability of severe febrile neutropenia in patients with a variant ITPA allele among patients whose dose of mercaptopurine had been adjusted for TPMT genotype. In a cohort of patients whose mercaptopurine dose was not adjusted for TPMT phenotype, the TPMT genotype had a greater effect than the ITPA genotype. In conclusion, genetic polymorphism of ITPA is a significant determinant of mercaptopurine metabolism and of severe febrile neutropenia, after combination chemotherapy for ALL in which mercaptopurine doses are individualized on the basis of TPMT genotype.
Adherence to ribavirin is one factor that is critically important in the treatment of hepatitis C virus infection. However, ribavirin can be associated with clinically significant hemolytic anemia resulting in dose modifications in up to one-quarter of patients. Currently, baseline predictors of considerable anemia are not sufficiently discriminating for routine therapeutic intervention. The objective of this analysis was to elucidate baseline and on-treatment factors predictive of a considerable hemoglobin drop at week 4.
Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to explore possible predictors for considerable hemoglobin decline (≥2.5 g/dL) at week 4 among patients receiving peginterferon alfa-2a (40KD) and ribavirin (1000/1200 mg/day).
A total of 555 patients were included in this analysis. At week 4, 236 patients exhibited a ≥2.5 g/dL decrease in hemoglobin. By regression analysis the most important independent variables associated with a decrease in hemoglobin of ≥2.5 g/dL were baseline creatinine clearance (p=0.0003) and a rapid decline in hemoglobin of ≥1.5 g/dL at week 2 (p<0.0001). Considerable hemoglobin decreases at week 4 were also significantly associated with early ribavirin dose reductions and a lower cumulative daily dose of ribavirin.
Patients with impaired renal function may be at an increased risk of ribavirin-related anemia and should be monitored accordingly. Furthermore, a hemoglobin drop of ≥1.5 g/dL by week 2 was an excellent early predictor for subsequent considerable hemoglobin decreases and might be used to identify candidates for early intervention against anemia in order to help maintain ribavirin dosing and avoid suboptimal exposure.
HCV; PEGASYS; pegylated interferon; safety; hemoglobin
Two variants of the inosine triphosphatase (ITPA: rs1127354, rs7270101) gene cause ITPA deficiency and protect against the hemolytic toxicity of ribavirin. We investigated the clinical significance of ITPA variants in Korean patients treated with pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) plus ribavirin. Of the 133 patients, 108 were CC and 25 were non-CC at rs1127354 (groups A and B, respectively). On the other hand, at rs7270101 all 133 were AA. The mean values of Hemoglobin (Hgb) after 4, 8, and 12 weeks of treatment in groups A and B were 12.2 and 14.0, 11.8 and 13.2, and 11.5 and 12.9, respectively (P=0.001, 0.036, 0.036). Sustained virologic response (SVR) was achieved in 67.8% (40/59) of genotype 1 patients and in 75% (27/36) of non-genotype 1 patients. Regarding ITPA variants, SVR was achieved by 66% and 80% of genotype 1 (P=0.282), and by 78% and 71% (P=0.726) of non-genotype 1. SVR was not significantly different in groups A and B. In conclusion, non-CC at rs1127354 without involvement of rs7270101 is strongly associated with protection from ribavirin-induced anemia, however, ITPA genotype is not associated with SVR.
Hepatitis C, Chronic; Ribavirin; Anemia; ITPA; IL28B
AIM: To investigate and clarify, for the first time, the role of inosine triphosphate pyrophosphatase (ITPA) polymorphism in Egyptian chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) patients.
METHODS:The human genomic DNA of all patients was extracted from peripheral blood cells in order to determine the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) of ITPA (rs1127354). SNP genotyping was performed by real time polymerase chain reaction (PCR, ABI TaqMan allelic discrimination kit) for 102 treatment-naive Egyptian patients with chronic HCV. All patients had no evidence of cardiovascular or renal diseases. They received a combination treatment of pegylated interferon α (PEG-IFNα) as a weekly subcutaneous dose plus an oral weight-adjusted dose of ribavirin (RBV). The majority received PEG-IFNα2a (70.6%) while 29.4% received PEG-IFNα2b. The planned duration of treatment was 24-48 wk according to the viral kinetics throughout the course of treatment. Pre-treatment liver biopsy was done for each patient for evaluation of fibrosis stage and liver disease activity. The basal viral load level was detected quantitatively by real time PCR while viral load throughout the treatment course was performed qualitatively by COBAS TaqMan assay.
RESULTS: Ninety-three patients (91.2%) had ITPA SNP CC genotype and 9 (8.8%) had non-CC genotype (CA and AA). The percentage of hemoglobin (Hb) decline was higher for CC patients than for non-CC patients, particularly at weeks 4 and 8 (P = 0.047 and 0.034, respectively). During the first 12 wk of treatment, CC patients had significantly more Hb decline > 3 g/dL than non-CC patients: 64.5% vs 22.2% at weeks 8 and 12, respectively, (P = 0.024 and 0.038). Reduction of the amount of the planned RBV dose was significantly higher for CC patients than non-CC patients during the first 12 wk (18% ± 12.1% vs 8.5% ± 10.2%, P = 0.021). The percentage of CC patients with RBV dose reduction was significantly greater than that of non-CC patients (77.4% vs 44.4%, P = 0.044). Multivariate analysis identified only the percentage of RBV dose as a predictor for Hb decline. Platelet decline was significantly higher in non-CC patients than CC patients at weeks 12, 24 and 48 (P = 0.018, 0.009 and 0.026, respectively).
CONCLUSION: Rs1127354 ITPA polymorphism plays a decisive role in protecting against treatment-induced anemia and the need for RBV dose reduction in Egyptian HCV patients.
Anemia; Dose reduction; Hepatitis C; Inosine triphosphate; Ribavirin; Rs1127354
AIM: To analyzed the association between inosine triphosphatase (ITPA) (rs1127354) genotypes and sustained virological response (SVR) rates in peginterferon (Peg-IFN)α + ribavirin (RBV) treatment.
METHODS: Patients who underwent Peg-IFNα + RBV combination therapy were enrolled (n = 120) and they had no history of other IFN-based treatments. Variation in hemoglobin levels during therapy, cumulative reduction of RBV dose, frequency of treatment withdrawal, and SVR rates were investigated in each ITPA genotype.
RESULTS: In patients with ITPA CC genotype, hemoglobin decline was significantly greater and the percentage of patients in whom total RBV dose was < 60% of standard and/or treatment was withdrawn was significantly higher compared with CA/AA genotype. However, SVR rates were equivalent between CC and CA/AA genotypes, and within a subset of patients with Interleukin 28B (IL28B) (rs8099917) TT genotype, SVR rates tended to be higher in patients with ITPA CC genotype, although the difference was not significant.
CONCLUSION: ITPA CC genotype was a disadvantageous factor for Peg-IFNα + RBV treatment in relation to completion rates and RBV dose. However, CC genotype was not inferior to CA/AA genotype for SVR rates. When full-length treatment is accomplished, it is plausible that more SVR is achieved in patients with ITPA CC variant, especially in a background of IL28B TT genotype.
Chronic hepatitis C; Interleukin 28B; Inosine triphosphatase; Peginterferon; Ribavirin
Background and Aims
This was a safety and efficacy pharmacogenetic study of a previously performed randomized trial which compared the effectiveness of treatment of hepatitis C virus infection with pegylated interferon alpha (pegIFNα) 2a vs. 2b, both with ribavirin, for 48 weeks, in HCV-HIV coinfected patients.
The study groups were made of 99 patients (efficacy pharmacogenetic substudy) and of 114 patients (safety pharmacogenetic substudy). Polymorphisms in the following candidate genes IL28B, IL6, IL10, TNFα, IFNγ, CCL5, MxA, OAS1, SOCS3, CTLA4 and ITPA were assessed. Genotyping was carried out using Sequenom iPLEX-Gold, a single-base extension polymerase chain reaction. Efficacy end-points assessed were: rapid, early and sustained virological response (RVR, EVR and SVR, respectively). Safety end-points assessed were: anemia, neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, flu-like syndrome, gastrointestinal disturbances and depression. Chi square test, Student's T test, Mann-Whitney U test and logistic regression were used for statistic analyses.
As efficacy is concerned, IL28B and CTLA4 gene polymorphisms were associated with RVR (p<0.05 for both comparisons). Nevertheless, only polymorphism in the IL28B gene was associated with SVR (p = 0.004). In the multivariate analysis, the only gene independently associated with SVR was IL28B (OR 2.61, 95%CI 1.2–5.6, p = 0.01). With respect to safety, there were no significant associations between flu-like syndrome or depression and the genetic variants studied. Gastrointestinal disturbances were associated with ITPA gene polymorphism (p = 0.04). Anemia was associated with OAS1 and CTLA4 gene polymorphisms (p = 0.049 and p = 0.045, respectively), neutropenia and thromobocytopenia were associated with SOCS3 gene polymorphism (p = 0.02 and p = 0.002, respectively). In the multivariate analysis, the associations of the SOCS3 gene polymorphism with neutropenia (OR 0.26, 95%CI 0.09–0.75, p = 0.01) and thrombocytopenia (OR 0.07, 95%CI 0.008–0.57, p = 0.01) remained significant.
In HCV-HIV coinfected patients treated with PegIFNα and ribavirin, SVR is associated with IL28B rs8099917 polymorphism. HCV treatment-induced neutropenia and thrombocytopenia are associated with SOCS3 rs4969170 polymorphism.
IL28B and ITPA genetic variants are associated with the outcome of pegylated-interferon and ribavirin (PEG-IFN/RBV) therapy. However, the significance of these genetic variants in cirrhotic patients following splenectomy has not been determined.
Thirty-seven patients with HCV-induced cirrhosis who underwent laparoscopic splenectomy (Spx group) and 90 who did not (non-Spx group) were genotyped for IL28B and ITPA. The outcome or adverse effects were compared in each group. Interferon-stimulated gene 15 (ISG15) and protein kinase R expression in the spleen was measured using total RNA extracted from exenterate spleen.
Sustained virological response (SVR) rate was higher in patients carrying IL28B major genotype following splenectomy (50% vs 27.3%) and in patients carrying minor genotype in the Spx group compared to non-Spx group (27.3% vs 3.6%, P < 0.05). Pretreatment splenic ISG expression was higher in patients carrying IL28B major. There was no difference in progression of anemia or thrombocytopenia between patients carrying each ITPA genotype in the Spx group. Although splenectomy did not increase hemoglobin (Hb) level, Hb decline tended to be greater in the non-Spx group. In contrast, splenectomy significantly increased platelet count (61.1 × 103/μl vs 168.7 × 103/μl, P < 0.01), which was maintained during the course of PEG-IFN/RBV therapy.
IL28B genetic variants correlated with response to PEG-IFN/RBV following splenectomy. Splenectomy improved SVR rate among patients carrying IL28B minor genotype and protected against anemia and thrombocytopenia during the course of PEG-IFN/RBV therapy regardless of ITPA genotype.
IL28B; ITPA; Splenectomy; Liver cirrhosis
AIM: To predict treatment success using only simple clinical data from peg-interferon plus ribavirin therapy for chronic hepatitis C.
METHODS: We analyzed the clinical data of 176 patients with chronic hepatitis and hepatitis C virus genotype 1 who received 48 wk standard therapy, derived a predictive formula to assess a sustained virological response of the individual patient using a logistic regression model and confirmed the validity of this formula. The formula was constructed using data from the first 100 patients enrolled and validated using data from the remaining 76 patients.
RESULTS: Sustained virological response was obtained in 83 (47.2%) of the patients and we derived formulae to predict sustained virological response at pretreatment and weeks 4, 12 and 24. The likelihood of sustained virological response could be predicted effectively by the formulae at weeks 4, 12 and 24 (the area under the curve of the receiver operating characteristic: 0.821, 0.802, and 0.891, respectively), but not at baseline (0.570). The formula at week 48 was also constructed and validation by test data achieved good prediction with 0.871 of the area under the curve of the receiver operating characteristic. Prediction by this formula was always superior to that by viral kinetics.
CONCLUSION: These results suggested that our formula combined with viral kinetics provides a clear direction of therapy for each patient and enables the best tailored treatment.
Logistic regression analysis; Predictive formula; Prolongation of the therapy; Response-guided therapy; Viral kinetics
AIM: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of combined pegylated interferon and ribavirin for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C (HCV) in patients with sickle cell anemia (SCA).
METHODS: Fifty-two patients with SCA and HCV were treated over a period of 7 years from June 2002 to July 2009. Their medical records were reviewed for: age at treatment, sex, body mass index, Hb level at the start of therapy and on follow-up, hemoglobin electrophoresis, liver function tests, G6PD level, LDH, bilirubin, HCV-RNA viral load, HCV genotype, liver biopsy, duration of treatment, and side effects. All were treated with pegylated interferon and a standard dose of ribavirin. The treatment was continued for 24 wk for those with genotype 2 and 3 and for 48 wk for those with genotype 1 and 4.
RESULTS: Fifty-two patients (30 females and 22 males) were treated. Their mean age was 29.5 years (range 15-54 years). HCV genotype was determined in 48 and 15 had liver biopsy. Their mean pre-treatment HCV-RNA viral load was 986330 IU/mL (range 12762-3329282 IU/mL). The liver biopsy showed grade I in 6 and grade II in 9 and stage I in 13 and stage II in 2. Only 8 were receiving hydroxyurea at the time of treatment. All tolerated the treatment well and none experienced a decrease in their Hb which required blood transfusion pre, during or after therapy. There were no hematological side effects attributable to ribavirin at the usual recommended dose. Thirty-seven (71.2%) achieved SVR at 6 mo after the end of treatment. The remaining 15 were non-responders. Two of them showed an ETR but had a relapse. The remaining 13 had a relatively significant HCV-RNA viral load with a mean HCV-RNA viral load of 1829741.2 IU/mL (900000-3329282 IU/mL) and eight of them had HCV genotype 1, four had HCV genotype 4, and one had HCV genotype 5.
CONCLUSION: Patients with SCA and HCV can be treated with pegylated interferon and ribavirin at the usual recommended dose. This is even so in those who are not receiving hydroxyurea. The treatment is safe and effective and the response rate is comparable to those without SCA.
Sickle cell anemia; Chronic hepatitis C; Treatment
Ribavirin is an antiviral agent used in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus infection. One of the limitations associated with the use of ribavirin is a reversible anemia caused by its accumulation in erythrocytes. Therefore, it is of interest to determine ribavirin levels in erythrocytes, as well as in plasma, as these measurements may be predictive of hematotoxicity. In the present study, we describe a high-performance liquid chromatographic (HPLC) assay for ribavirin in whole blood to estimate concentrations of free ribavirin and phosphorylated anabolites in erythrocytes. Since ribavirin exists primarily as phosphorylated anabolites (mono-, di-, and triphosphates) in erythrocytes, whole-blood extracts were initially dephosphorylated with acid phosphatase. The enzyme-treated samples were subjected to phenyl boronic acid column extraction for cleanup. The purified fraction was analyzed by reversed-phase HPLC, which was optimized for determination of ribavirin levels in whole blood. The recoveries of ribavirin from whole blood ranged from 63.1 to 90.7% at concentrations ranging from 1.67 to 40.0 μM. Intra- and interassay variations estimated at these concentrations were 3.2 to 10.4 and 4.7 to 11.7%, respectively. This method was used to quantitate ribavirin in samples both treated and untreated with acid phosphatase to estimate the extent of intracellular phosphorylation in erythrocytes. The method was also used to evaluate the effects of dipyridamole, a nucleoside transporter inhibitor, on ribavirin disposition in erythrocytes in in vitro experiments.
AIM: To evaluate the efficacy of L-carnitine on alleviating anemia, thrombocytopenia and leukopenia, and minimizing dose reductions in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) in treatment with Interferon α (IFN-α) plus ribavirin.
METHODS: Sixty-nine patients with chronic hepatitis C were enrolled in the study and divided into two groups. group A (n = 35) received Peg-IFN-α 2b plus ribavirin plus L-carnitine, and group B (n = 34) received Peg-IFN-α and ribavirin for 12 mo. All patients underwent laboratory investigations including: red cell count, hemoglobin, white cell count, platelets, bilirubin, alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and viremia.
RESULTS: After 12 mo in group A compared to group B we observed significant differences in AST 108.8 vs 76.8 (IU/L; P < 0.001), ALT 137.9 vs 112.3 (IU/L; P < 0.001), viremia 4.04 vs 2.36 (× 106 copies/mL; P < 0.001), Hb 1 vs 3.5 (g/dL; P < 0.05), red blood cells 0.3 vs 1.1 (× 1012/L; P < 0.001), white blood cells 1.5 vs 3 (× 109/L; P < 0.001) and platelets 86 vs 85 (× 109/L; P < 0.001). The end treatment responders were 18 vs 12 (60% vs 44%) and the non responders were 12 vs 15 (40% vs 50%) [odds ratio (OR) 1.65, 95% CI = 0.65-5.37, P < 0.05]. In group A compared to group B there was a significant improvement of sustained virological response in 15 vs 7 patients (50% vs 25%), while the relapsers were 3 vs 5 (10% vs 18%) (OR 3.57, 95% CI = 0.65-19.3, P < 0.001).
CONCLUSION: L-carnitine supplementations modulate erythropoiesis, leucopoiesis and thrombocytopoiesis, and may be useful in patients treated for HCV. L-carnitine treatment offers the possibility of achieving a sustained virological response while preventing overtreatment.
L-carnitine; Chronic hepatitis C; Anemia; Interferon
Pegylated-interferon plus ribavirin is the standard treatment for chronic hepatitis C. Sustained virological response (SVR) rates of up to 80% are reported in genotype 2 and 3 chronic hepatitis C cases. Obesity, a modifiable risk factor, may have a deleterious effect on antiviral treatment. We performed this study to examine the efficacy and safety of pegylated-interferon and ribavirin therapy in Korean patients with genotype 2 and 3 chronic hepatitis C and to investigate the risk factors for nonresponse to antiviral treatment. A total of 121 patients were treated with peginterferon alpha-2a 180 mcg/week plus ribavirin 800 mg/day for 24 weeks. The end-of-treatment virologic response (ETVR), the SVR, the end-of-treatment biochemical response (ETBR), the sustained biochemical response (SBR), and the adverse events were analyzed. The ETVR and SVR were 94.1% and 89.1%, respectively. The ETBR was 80.2% and the SBR was 96%. Multivariate analysis showed that a body mass index of 25 and over was the only independent factor that affected the SVR (odds ratio=10.5, 95% confidence interval: 2.006-54.948, p=0.005). Twenty patients (16.5%) dropped out at the end of treatment, and 7 (5.8%) patients discontinued treatment because of treatment-related adverse events. Our study showed that combination therapy with pegylated-interferon and ribavirin as an initial treatment for genotype 2 and 3 chronic hepatitis C is very effective and safe, and that body mass index is an independent risk factor for nonresponse to antiviral treatment in patients with genotype 2 and 3 chronic hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C, chronic; Peginterferon alfa-2a; Ribavirin; Body mass Index
Anemia of diverse etiology is a common complication of chronic liver diseases. The causes of anemia include acute or chronic gastrointestinal hemorrhage, and hypersplenism secondary to portal hypertension. Severe hepatocellular disease predisposes to hemorrhage because of impaired blood coagulation caused by deficiency of blood coagulation factors synthesized by hepatocytes, and/or thrombocytopenia. Aplastic anemia, which is characterized by pancytopenia and hypocellular bone marrow, may follow the development of hepatitis. Its presentation includes progressive anemia and hemorrhagic manifestations. Hematological complications of combination therapy for chronic viral hepatitis include clinically significant anemia, secondary to treatment with ribavirin and/or interferon. Ribavirin-induced hemolysis can be reversed by reducing the dose of the drug or discontinuing it altogether. Interferons may contribute to anemia by inducing bone marrow suppression. Alcohol ingestion is implicated in the pathogenesis of chronic liver disease and may contribute to associated anemia. In patients with chronic liver disease, anemia may be exacerbated by deficiency of folic acid and/or vitamin B12 that can occur secondary to inadequate dietary intake or malabsorption.
Anemia; Liver disease; Liver failure; Aplastic anemia; Pegylated interferon; Ribavirin; Alcohol
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:
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.
PATIENTS AND METHODS:
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.
ALT; Biochemistry; Hepatitis C; Interferon; Myelosuppression; Ribavirin
Ribavirin-induced hemolytic anemia is one cause for cessation of combination therapy with alpha interferon 2b and ribavirin for hepatitis C infection. Determining cellular ribavirin levels in blood, including the levels of its phosphorylated metabolites, might be useful for predicting ribavirin-induced anemia, because the metabolites accumulate in erythrocytes. We simplified an assay method developed previously to make it suitable for routine monitoring of cellular ribavirin. Whole blood diluted with a sixfold volume of ice-cold distilled water was subjected to acid phosphatase digestion to convert phosphorylated ribavirin metabolites to free ribavirin. The resulting mixture, spiked with an internal standard, was treated by phenyl boronic acid column extraction, followed by reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography analysis. The calibration curve for ribavirin levels in whole blood was linear at concentrations of 5.3 to 1,024 μM (r2 = 0.9999). Validation coefficients of variation for intra- and interday assays were 2.9 to 5.8% and 4.3 to 8.3%, respectively. We tested this method by monitoring blood ribavirin concentrations in two hepatitis C patients receiving alpha interferon 2b-plus-ribavirin combination therapy.
Recent studies have demonstrated that genetic polymorphisms near the IL28B gene are associated with the clinical outcome of pegylated interferon α (peg-IFN-α) plus ribavirin therapy for patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV). However, it is unclear whether genetic variations near the IL28B gene influence hepatic interferon (IFN)-stimulated gene (ISG) induction or cellular immune responses, lead to the viral reduction during IFN treatment.
Changes in HCV-RNA levels before therapy, at day 1 and weeks 1, 2, 4, 8 and 12 after administering peg-IFN-α plus ribavirin were measured in 54 patients infected with HCV genotype 1. Furthermore, we prepared four lines of chimeric mice having four different lots of human hepatocytes containing various single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) around the IL28B gene. HCV infecting chimeric mice were subcutaneously administered with peg-IFN-α for 2 weeks.
There were significant differences in the reduction of HCV-RNA levels after peg-IFN-α plus ribavirin therapy based on the IL28B SNP rs8099917 between TT (favourable) and TG/GG (unfavourable) genotypes in patients; the first-phase viral decline slope per day and second-phase slope per week in TT genotype were significantly higher than in TG/GG genotype. On peg-IFN-α administration to chimeric mice, however, no significant difference in the median reduction of HCV-RNA levels and the induction of antiviral ISG was observed between favourable and unfavourable human hepatocyte genotypes.
As chimeric mice have the characteristic of immunodeficiency, the response to peg-IFN-α associated with the variation in IL28B alleles in chronic HCV patients would be composed of the intact immune system.
HCV; Antiviral Therapy; Genetic Polymorphisms; Interferon; Liver Immunology
Current standard therapy commonly followed for chronic Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) in Pakistan is interferon alpha plus ribavirin combination therapy (IFN α/ribavirin) and pegylated interferon plus ribavirin (PegIFN/ribavirin). PegIFN/ribavirin has increased rate of sustained virological response than standard IFN α/ribavirin therapy. Objective of current study was to analyze rate of early and delayed response to antiviral treatment as well as rate of relapse response in patients following standard treatment IFN α/ribavirin and in patients following pegylated interferon treatment.
Baseline serum samples of 153 patients enrolled for IFN α/ribavirin and 50 patients for PegIFN/ribavirin were collected. After total RNA extraction, genotyping was and HCV RNA viral load was done. Subsequently HCV RNA viral load was estimated at 4 weeks of treatment, at 12 weeks, at 24 or 48 weeks and finally after 6 months follow up period. All the data was statistically analyzed using fisher's exact test.
Total 86 patients out of 153 patients following conventional IFN α/ribavirin therapy completed treatment and 69% of them showed Rapid Virological Response (RVR). Whereas 50 patients following PegIFN/ribavirin treatment completed treatment and 80% of them achieved RVR. Total 64 out of 86 patients following IFN α/ribavirin therapy completed follow up period and 53.5% of them achieved Sustainded Virologcal Response (SVR). Forty-five out of total 50 patients who received PegIFN/ribavirin treatment completed 6 months follow up period and among these 70% achieved SVR. SVR rates were significantly associated with RVR (p < 0.001), age (p < 0.001) and gender (p < 0.01)
Rate of sustained virological response can be determined by factors like rapid virological response and age since they share significant association with one another. More over rate of SVR was more prominent in males than in females.
We aimed to assess differences in early viral dynamics following treatment with either peg-IFNα2a or peg-IFNα2b in combination with ribavirin in patients with chronic genotype 1b HCV infection.
Sixty-one patients in the peg-IFNα2a + ribavirin treatment (group α2a) and 88 patients in the peg-IFNα2b + ribavirin treatment (group α2b) were retrospectively analyzed. The early dynamics of HCV RNA over 12 weeks were evaluated. Sustained virological response (SVR) was defined as undetectable HCV RNA at week 24 after end of therapy. First- (day 0–1) and second-phase (day 1–28) viral decline rates were calculated in accordance with theoretical formulae.
Baseline HCV RNA concentrations were almost similar between the 2 groups. In group α2a, viral decline was significantly greater than in group α2b at weeks 4, 8, and 12. In group α2a, viral decline was significantly greater in SVR patients than in non-SVR patients at week 2, whereas significantly greater viral decline in SVR patients was found during weeks 1–12 in group α2b. The first-phase viral decline rate was significantly larger in group α2a than in group α2b (1.31±0.84 vs. 0.70±0.97 log IU/mL/day; p<0.0001). Within SVR patients, first-phase viral decline rate was significantly larger in group α2a compared with group α2b (1.45±0.85 vs. 0.78±1.0 log IU/mL/day; p<0.0001). Second-phase viral decline rate was comparable between the groups.
Peg-IFNα2a showed earlier viral decline than peg-IFNα2b and the difference was obvious, especially in the first-phase viral decline.
chronic hepatitis C; HCV; peg-interferon; viral kinetics
The aim of this study was to analyze the predictive value of CXCL9, CXCL10, and CXCL11 concentrations before and after 4 and 12 weeks of treatment with pegylated interferon-α2b and ribavirin in patients with chronic hepatitis C infected with the hepatitis C virus genotype 1. The study included 46 adult patients (29 women and 17 men). Chemokine quantification in the serum was performed at baseline and after 1, 3, and 6 months of treatment by enzyme immunoassay. Chemokine responses were compared in patients achieving a sustained virological response to treatment (SVR, n=26) and the non-SVR group (n=20). The differences in the CXCL9 and CXCL10 concentrations between the SVR and non-SVR groups were statistically significant. A multivariant analysis showed a significant association between treatment failure and higher concentrations of CXCL10. A higher predictive value of CXCL10 concentrations after 4 weeks of treatment compared to pretreatment values has been found (area under the curve 0.9288 and 0.7942, respectively, P=0.016). CXCL10 concentrations above 250 pg/mL 4 weeks after the start of treatment were independently associated with non-SVR. In conclusion, the results of this study have shown that CXCL10 concentrations at the time of a rapid viral response (4 weeks) are better predictors of achieving SVR compared to baseline levels. Additionally, this study suggests an important role of CXCL9 as a biomarker of SVR in patients with chronic hepatitis C.