Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (1231198)

Clipboard (0)

Related Articles

1.  Impaired Hepatitis C Virus-Specific T Cell Responses and Recurrent Hepatitis C Virus in HIV Coinfection 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(12):e492.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV)-specific T cell responses are critical for spontaneous resolution of HCV viremia. Here we examined the effect of a lymphotropic virus, HIV-1, on the ability of coinfected patients to maintain spontaneous control of HCV infection.
Methods and Findings
We measured T cell responsiveness by lymphoproliferation and interferon-γ ELISPOT in a large cohort of HCV-infected individuals with and without HIV infection. Among 47 HCV/HIV-1-coinfected individuals, spontaneous control of HCV was associated with more frequent HCV-specific lymphoproliferative (LP) responses (35%) compared to coinfected persons who exhibited chronic HCV viremia (7%, p = 0.016), but less frequent compared to HCV controllers who were not HIV infected (86%, p = 0.003). Preservation of HCV-specific LP responses in coinfected individuals was associated with a higher nadir CD4 count (r2 = 0.45, p < 0.001) and the presence and magnitude of the HCV-specific CD8+ T cell interferon-γ response (p = 0.0014). During long-term follow-up, recurrence of HCV viremia occurred in six of 25 coinfected individuals with prior control of HCV, but in 0 of 16 HIV-1-negative HCV controllers (p = 0.03, log rank test). In these six individuals with recurrent HCV viremia, the magnitude of HCV viremia following recurrence inversely correlated with the CD4 count at time of breakthrough (r = −0.94, p = 0.017).
These results indicate that HIV infection impairs the immune response to HCV—including in persons who have cleared HCV infection—and that HIV-1-infected individuals with spontaneous control of HCV remain at significant risk for a second episode of HCV viremia. These findings highlight the need for repeat viral RNA testing of apparent controllers of HCV infection in the setting of HIV-1 coinfection and provide a possible explanation for the higher rate of HCV persistence observed in this population.
HIV infection impairs the immune response to HCV. Even individuals who have cleared HCV infection remain at significant risk for a second episode of HCV viremia.
Editors' Summary
Because of shared transmission routes (contaminated needles, contaminated blood products, and, to a lesser extent, unprotected sex), a large proportion of HIV-infected individuals (estimates range between 25% and 33%) are also infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). In most but not all individuals infected with HCV, the virus infection is chronic and causes liver disease that can eventually lead to liver failure. Disease progress is slow; it often takes decades until infected individuals develop serious liver disease. In people infected with both HCV and HIV, however, liver disease caused by HCV often appears sooner and progresses faster. As highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and prophylaxis of opportunistic infections increase the life span of persons living with HIV, HCV-related liver disease has become a major cause of hospital admissions and deaths among HIV-infected persons.
Why Was This Study Done?
A sizable minority of people who are infected with HCV manage to control the virus and never get liver disease, and scientists have found that these people somehow mounted a strong immune response against the hepatitis C virus. CD4+ T cells, the very immune cells that are infected and destroyed by HIV, play an important role in this immune response. The goal of the present study was to better understand how infection with HIV compromises the specific immune response to HCV and thereby the control of HCV disease progression.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers recruited four groups of patients, 94 in total, all of whom were infected with HCV. Two groups comprised patients who were infected with HIV as well as HCV, with either high or undetectable levels of HCV (30 patients in each group). The two other groups included patients not infected with HIV, either with high or undetectable levels of HCV (17 patients in each group). The researchers focused on the individuals who, despite coinfection with HIV, were able to control their HCV infection. They found that those individuals managed to maintain relatively high levels of CD4+ T cells that specifically recognize HCV. However, a quarter of these patients (six out of 25) failed to keep HCV levels down for the entire observation period of up to 2.5 years; their blood levels of HCV rose substantially, most likely due to recurrence of the previously suppressed virus (the researchers could not be certain that none of the patients had become infected again after a new exposure to HCV-contaminated blood, but there was no evidence that they had engaged in risky behavior). The rise of HCV levels in the blood of the relapsed patients coincided with a drop in overall CD4+ T cell numbers. Following relapse in these individuals, HCV did not return to undetectable levels during the study. During the same period none of the 16 HIV-uninfected people with controlled HCV infection experienced a recurrence of detectable HCV.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Despite the relatively small numbers of patients, these results suggest that recurrence of HCV after initial control of the virus is more likely in people who are coinfected with HIV, and that HCV control is lost when CD4+ T cell counts fall. This is one more reason to test all HIV-positive patients for HCV coinfection. Coinfected patients, even those who seem to be controlling HCV and would not automatically receive HCV treatment, should be regularly tested for a rise of HCV levels. In addition, maintaining CD4+ T cells at a high level might be particularly important for those patients, which means that doctors might consider starting HAART therapy earlier than is generally recommended for HIV-infected individuals. Additional studies are needed to support these recommendations, however, especially as this study did not follow the patients long enough to determine the consequences of the observed loss of control of HCV.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
AIDS Treatment Data Network factsheet on HIV/HCV coinfection
US CDC factsheet on HIV/HCV coinfection
American Liver Foundation, information on HIV and HCV
MedlinePlus pages on HCV
PMCID: PMC1705826  PMID: 17194190
2.  Significance of hepatitis B virus surface antigen, hepatitis C virus expression in hepatocellular carcinoma and pericarcinomatous tissues 
AIM: To investigate the correlation between hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg), hepatitis C virus (HCV) expression in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the HAI score of the noncancerous region of the liver and the serum Alpha fetoprotein (AFP) level.
METHODS: The patterns of HBsAg and HCV in 100 cases of HCC and their surrounding liver tissues were studied on paraffin-embedded sections with immuno-histochemistry, the histological status was determined by one pathologist and one surgeon simultaneously using the hepatitis activity index (HAI) score, and AFP was detected by radioimmunity. The study included 100 consecutive patients who underwent curative resection for HCC. Based on HBsAg and HCV expression, the patients were classified into 4 groups: patients positive for HBsAg (HBsAg group), patients positive for HCV (HCV group), patients negative for both HCV and HBsAg (NBNC group) and patients positive for both HBsAg and HCV (BC group).
RESULTS: The BC group had significantly higher HAI scores than the other three groups. (BC > HCV > HBsAg > NBNC). HBV and HCV virus infection was positively correlated with HAI (rs = 0.39, P = 0.0001). The positive rate of AFP (85.7%) and the value of AFP (541.2 ng/mL) in the group with HBV and HCV co-infection were the highest among the four groups. The positive rate (53.3%) of AFP and the value of AFP ( 53.3 ng/mL) in the group with none-infection of HBV and HCV were the lowest. HBV and HCV virus infection was positively correlated with AFP(rs = 0.38, P = 0.0001).
CONCLUSION: The AFP increase in patients with liver cancer was positively correlated with the infection of HBV and HCV. The serum AFP elevation by the infection of HBV and HCV is one of mechanisms which lead to hepatocarcinogenesis, and the antivirus intervening treatment of hepatitis is significant for the prognosis of liver cancer. From our Spearman’s rank correlation analysis, we can conclude that the severity of virally induced inflammation is correlated with HBsAg and HCV expression in HCC tissues and noncancerous tissues. Prior co-infection of HBV in HCV patients may be an adverse risk factor for intrahepatic inflammation.
PMCID: PMC4149970  PMID: 17465484
Hepatitis B virus surface antigen; Hepatitis C virus antigen; Histological activity index; Immunohisto-chemistry; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Alpha-fetoprotein.
3.  Clinical experience with nonstandard doses ofinterferon alfa-2b and ribavirin in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C infection: A retrospective analysis 
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is the most common blood-borne virus in the United States. Several mono- and combination therapies have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of HCV, but their routes of administration, dosing approaches, eras of introduction, and actual use in clinical practice and resulting effectiveness have not yet been reported.
The aim of this article was to characterize clinical use and virologic response (VR) of the HCV treatments interferon alfa-2b plus ribavirin (IFN + RBV) and peginterferon alfa-2b plus ribavirin (peg-IFN + RBV).
This retrospective chart review of office-based practices in theUnited States was conducted at 200 physicians' offices across the United States. We collected data concerning dosing patterns, VR (HCV RNA load, ≤1000 IU/mL or “negative” on polymerase chain reaction qualitative analysis), and adverse events (AEs) from the medical records of a geographically diverse sample of patients receiving treatment for chronic HCV infection in the United States from July 2001 to June 2002. For efficacy assessment, factors that were statistically different at baseline were adjusted using logistic regression. Providers also reviewed the medical records for symptoms or signs consistent with HCV treatment-related AEs.
Data from the records of 675 patients (423 men, 252 women; mean [SD] age of 45.5 [8.2] years; mean [SD] body weight, 80.8 [19.4] kg) were analyzed. At baseline, the IFN + RBV treatment group (330 patients) had significantly higher percentages of black patients (22.1% vs 15.7%; P = 0.032) and patients with hepatic disease based on clinician-reported cirrhosis and liver dysfunction (18.8% vs 9.9%; P < 0.001), and a significantly lower percentage of white patients (60.3% vs 69.6%; P = 0.012) compared with the peg-IFN + RBV treatment group (345 patients). The difference in log-transformed baseline HCV RNA loads between the 2 treatment groups in this study was <1 log unit. A significantly higher percentage of IFN + RBV-treated patients compared with peg-IFN + RBV-treated patients were prescribed HCV therapy on diagnosis (37.3% vs 29.9%; P = 0.041), and the mean (SD) duration of treatment was significantly different between the 2 treatment groups (52.5 [37.0] vs 27.5 [15.0] weeks; P < 0.001). Peg-IFN + RBV was associated with a higher rate of VR compared with IFN + RBV on univariate analysis (28.5% vs 17.5%; P = 0.018). Recommended doses of peg-IFN and higher-than-recommended doses of RBV were associated with an increased likelihood of VR. Higher-than-recommended doses of peg-IFN without a concomitant increase in RBV was not associated with an increased likelihood of VR. The incidences of the 3 most commonly reported AEs in the IFN + RSV group were significantly higher compared with those in the peg-IFN + RSV group: fatigue, 217 (65.8%) versus 185 (53.6%) patients (P = 0.001); depression, 147 (44.5%) versus 120 (34.8%) (P = 0.009); and anxiety, 87 (26.4%) versus 64 (18.6%) (P = 0.014). Nausea, however, was reported in a significantly higher number of patients in the peg-IFN group compared with the IFN + RBV group (74 [21.4%] vs 51 [15.5%]; P = 0.045). The frequencies of dose modification and treatment discontinuation due to AEs were similar between the 2 treatments and were similar to or less than those reported in other studies.
In this retrospective data analysis of US office-based practicesconcerning HCV treatment, clinicians were observed to prescribe IFN + RBV at doses that differ from recommendations in the product information (PI), as well as prescribe the RBV component of peg-IFN + RBV at doses that differed from PI recommendations. Although patients treated with peg-IFN + RBV appeared to achieve higher VR compared with those treated with IFN + RBV in our analysis of data from clinical practice, peg-IFN + RBV was associated with lower VR rates compared with those reported in clinical studies.
PMCID: PMC4003805  PMID: 24790244
hepatitis C; pegylated interferon; interferon alfa-2b and ribavirin; ribavirin; dosing; outcomes
4.  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
5.  Viral Hepatitis among Somali Immigrants in Minnesota: Association of Hepatitis C with Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
Mayo Clinic Proceedings  2012;87(1):17-24.
To study the frequencies of chronic viral hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV), and their associations with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in immigrant Somalis seen at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.
We investigated the frequencies of HBV and HCV infection and HCC in immigrant Somalis seen at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota between July 1, 1996 and October 31, 2009. Non-Somali Olmsted County residents served as controls.
For Somali males and females, age-adjusted proportions (per 1000) were 209 and 123 for HBV surface antigen (HBsAg), 644 and 541 for HBV core antibody (HBcAb) and 99 and 66 for anti-HCV. The comparative proportions in non-Somalis were 20 and 9 for HBsAg, 126 and 97 for HBcAb, and 32 and 17 for anti-HCV. HCV RNA confirmed that 93% (68/73) of Somalis and 93% (282/303) of non-Somalis with positive anti-HCV tests had active HCV infection. Of 30 Somali patients with HCC, 22 (75.9%) were anti-HCV-positive [odds ratio (95% CI): 31.3 (12.95 – 75.52), p<0.0001 compared to anti-HCV-negative Somalis]; 5 (17.9%) were HBsAg-positive [OR 1.38 (0.52–3.69), p=0.53]; and 18 (69.2%) were HBcAb-positive [OR 1.80 (0.77–4.20), p=0.16]. Viral hepatitis was diagnosed coincident with HCC in 45% (9/20) of HCV-associated HCCs. Only 20% (4/20) of HCCs were detected during surveillance.
HBV and HCV occurred frequently in this sample of Somali immigrants. HCV was the major risk factor for HCC. Screening Somali immigrants for HCV infection may enhance the prevention, early detection, and optimal treatment of HCC.
PMCID: PMC3337857  PMID: 22212964
Somali; Hepatitis C; Hepatitis B; Hepatocellular carcinoma
6.  Comparative Evaluation of the Total Hepatitis C Virus Core Antigen, Branched-DNA, and Amplicor Monitor Assays in Determining Viremia for Patients with Chronic Hepatitis C during Interferon Plus Ribavirin Combination Therapy 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2003;41(7):3212-3220.
An assay prototype designed to detect and quantify total hepatitis C virus [HCV] core antigen (HCV core Ag) protein in serum and plasma in the presence or absence of anti-HCV antibodies has been recently developed by Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics. The aim of the study was to evaluate the sensitivity, specificity, and reproducibility of the Total HCV core Ag assay in comparison with two quantitative assays for HCV RNA: Quantiplex HCV RNA 2.0 (bDNA v2.0) or Versant HCV RNA 3.0 (bDNA v3.0) assays and the Cobas Amplicor HCV Monitor version 2.0 (HCM v2.0) test. We have studied samples of a well-characterized panel and samples from patients with chronic hepatitis C treated with interferon alone or with ribavirin. We have also compared the kinetics of HCV core Ag and HCV RNA in the follow-up of treated patients. The HCV core Ag assay exhibited linear behavior across samples from different genotypes. The coefficients of variation for intra- and interassay performance were 5.11 and 9.95%, respectively. The specificity of the assay tested in blood donors was 99.5%. Samples from HCV-infected patients showed that the correlation between the HCV core Ag and the two HCV RNA quantitative assays (bDNA and HCM v2.0) was 0.8 and 0.7, respectively. This correlation was maintained across different genotypes of HCV (r2 = 0.64 to 0.94). Baseline HCV core Ag values were significantly lower in sustained responders to interferon (IFN) than in other groups of patients (5.31 log10 [104 pg/ml] versus 5.99 log10 [104 pg/ml]; P < 0.001). In patients treated with IFN or combination therapy, we found an association between a decrease of more than 2 log IU/ml in viral load, undetectable HCV core Ag, and sustained response. Among sustained responders to IFN alone or combination therapy and among relapsers after IFN alone, 84 out of 101 (83.2%) had undetectable HCV core Ag, and 76 out of 96 (79.2%) had a viral load decrease of ≥2 log IU/ml, after 1 month of treatment. In conclusion, the Total HCV core Ag assay is a new useful test for the detection of HCV viremia and the monitoring of patients treated with IFN alone or in combination with ribavirin.
PMCID: PMC165326  PMID: 12843066
7.  Effects of a 24-week course of interferon-α therapy after curative treatment of hepatitis C virus-associated hepatocellular carcinoma 
AIM: To assess whether a 24-wk course of interferon (IFN) could prevent hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) recurrence and worsening of liver function in patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected patients after receiving curative treatment for primary HCC.
METHODS: Outcomes in 42 patients with HCV infection treated with IFN-α, after curative treatment for primary HCC (IFN group), were compared with 42 matched curatively treated historical controls not given IFN (non-IFN group).
RESULTS: Although the rate of initial recurrence did not differ significantly between IFN group and non-IFN group (0%, 44%, 61%, and 67% vs 4.8%, 53%, 81%, and 87% at 1, 3, 5, and 7 years, P = 0.153, respectively), IFN group showed a lower rate than the non-IFN group for second recurrence (0%, 10.4%, 28%, and 35% vs 0%, 30%, 59%, and 66% at 1, 3, 5 and 7 years, P = 0.022, respectively). Among the IFN group, patients with sustained virologic response (SVR) were less likely to have a second HCC recurrence than IFN patients without an SVR, or non-IFN patients. Multivariate analysis identified the lack of SVR as the only independent risk factor for a second recurrence, while SVR and Child-Pugh class A independently favored overall survival.
CONCLUSION: Most intrahepatic recurrences of HCV-related HCC occurred during persistent viral infection. Eradication of HCV is essential for the prevention of HCC recurrence and improvement of survival.
PMCID: PMC4171324  PMID: 17879404
Hepatitis C virus; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Recurrence; Survival; Sustained virological response
8.  Seroprevalence of hepatitis B and C viruses and risk factors in HIV infected children at the felgehiwot referral hospital, Ethiopia 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7(1):838.
Liver hepatitis due to Hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) co-infection is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in HIV infected children and it is more severe in resource poor settings. Data on seroprevalence of HBV and HCV among HIV infected children are scarce in Ethiopia. This study was conducted to determine seroprevalence and risk factors of HBV and HCV and its effect on liver enzyme among HIV-positive children aged 18 months to 15 years attending the paediatric HIV care and treatment clinic at Felege Hiwot referral hospital, Ethiopia.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in May, 2014. Demographic and risk factors were collected using a structured questionnaire. Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and anti-HCV antibodies were detected using an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels were determined. The results were analyzed using descriptive and logistic regression.
A total of 253 HIV positive children, boys (52.5%) and girls (47.5%) took part in the study. The median age of the children was 11 years. Overall, 19 (7.5%) of HIV infected children were positive either for HBsAg or anti-HCV antibodies. The seroprevalence of HBV and HCV were 2.0% and 5.5%, respectively. All HBsAg positive children were in older age groups (11-15years). Seroprevalence of HCV was higher in children from urban (7.7%) than rural (1.2%) residents (P = 0.02). Overall, 29 (12.1%) of children had elevated ALT. Of these, 31.5% were from HBsAg or anti-HCV antibody positive children whereas 9.8% were from hepatitis B or C virus negative children (P = 0.001). Multivariate logistic regression showed that being positive for HBsAg or anti-HCV antibody (AOR: 4.7(95% CI: 1.5-13.5) was significantly associated with elevated ALT.
HBV and HCV co-infections are common in HIV positive children. In HIV positive children, HBV and HCV co-infection were associated with elevate ALT. Routine screening for HBV and HCV in HIV infected children should be implemented.
PMCID: PMC4255438  PMID: 25421947
HBV; HCV; HIV; ALT; Children
9.  Kidney and liver organ transplantation in persons with human immunodeficiency virus 
Executive Summary
The objective of this analysis is to determine the effectiveness of solid organ transplantation in persons with end stage organ failure (ESOF) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV+)
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Patients with end stage organ failure who have been unresponsive to other forms of treatment eventually require solid organ transplantation. Similar to persons who are HIV negative (HIV−), persons living with HIV infection (HIV+) are at risk for ESOF from viral (e.g. hepatitis B and C) and non-viral aetiologies (e.g. coronary artery disease, diabetes, hepatocellular carcinoma). Additionally, HIV+ persons also incur risks of ESOF from HIV-associated nephropathy (HIVAN), accelerated liver damage from hepatitis C virus (HCV+), with which an estimated 30% of HIV positive (HIV+) persons are co-infected, and coronary artery disease secondary to antiretroviral therapy. Concerns that the need for post transplant immunosuppression and/or the interaction of immunosuppressive drugs with antiretroviral agents may accelerate the progression of HIV disease, as well as the risk of opportunistic infections post transplantation, have led to uncertainty regarding the overall benefit of transplantation among HIV+ patients. Moreover, the scarcity of donor organs and their use in a population where the clinical benefit of transplantation is uncertain has limited the availability of organ transplantation to persons living with ESOF and HIV.
With the development of highly active anti retroviral therapy (HAART), which has been available in Canada since 1997, there has been improved survival and health-related quality of life for persons living with HIV. HAART can suppress HIV replication, enhance immune function, and slow disease progression. HAART managed persons can now be expected to live longer than those in the pre-HAART era and as a result many will now experience ESOF well before they experience life-threatening conditions related to HIV infection. Given their improved prognosis and the burden of illness they may experience from ESOF, the benefit of solid organ transplantation for HIV+ patients needs to be reassessed.
Evidence-Based Analysis Methods
Research Questions
What are the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of solid organ transplantation in HIV+ persons with ESOF?
Literature Search
A literature search was performed on September 22, 2009 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published from January 1, 1996 to September 22, 2009.
Inclusion Criteria
Systematic review with or without a Meta analysis, RCT, Non-RCT with controls
HIV+ population undergoing solid organ transplantation
HIV+ population managed with HAART therapy
Controls include persons undergoing solid organ transplantation who are i) HIV− ii) HCV+ mono-infected, and iii) HIV+ persons with ESOF not transplanted.
Studies that completed and reported results of a Kaplan-Meier Survival Curve analysis.
Studies with a minimum (mean or medium) follow up of 1-year.
English language citations
Exclusion Criteria
Case reports and case series were excluded form this review.
Outcomes of Interest
i) Risk of Death after transplantation
ii) Death censored graft survival (DCGS)
iii) HIV disease progression defined as the post transplant incidence of:
- opportunistic infections or neoplasms,
- CD4+ T-cell count < 200mm3, and
- any detectable level of plasma HIV viral load.
iv) Acute graft rejection,
v) Return to dialysis,
vi) Recurrence of HCV infection
Summary of Findings
No direct evidence comparing an HIV+ cohort undergoing transplantation with the same not undergoing transplantation (wait list) was found in the literature search.
The results of this review are reported for the following comparison cohorts undergoing transplantation:
i) Kidney Transplantation: HIV+ cohort compared with HIV− cohort
ii) Liver Transplantation: HIV+ cohort compared with HIV− negative cohort
iii) Liver Transplantation: HIV+ HCV+ (co-infected) cohort compared with HCV+ (mono-infected) cohort
Kidney Transplantation: HIV+ vs. HIV−
Based on a pooled HIV+ cohort sample size of 285 patients across four studies, the risk of death after kidney transplantation in an HIV+ cohort does not differ to that of an HIV− cohort [hazard ratio (HR): 0.90; 95% CI: 0.36, 2.23]. The quality of evidence supporting this outcome is very low.
Death censored graft survival was reported in one study with an HIV+ cohort sample size of 100, and was statistically significantly different (p=.03) to that in the HIV− cohort (n=36,492). However, the quality of evidence supporting this outcome was determined to be very low. There was also uncertainty in the rate of return to dialysis after kidney transplantation in both the HIV+ and HIV− groups and the effect, if any, this may have on patient survival. Because of the very low quality evidence rating, the effect of kidney transplantation on HIV-disease progression is uncertain.
The rate of acute graft rejection was determined using the data from one study. There was a nonsignificant difference between the HIV+ and HIV− cohorts (OR 0.13; 95% CI: 0.01, 2.64), although again, because of very low quality evidence there is uncertainty in this estimate of effect.
Liver Transplantation: HIV+ vs. HIV−
Based on a combined HIV+ cohort sample size of 198 patient across five studies, the risk of death after liver transplantation in an HIV+ cohort (with at least 50% of the cohort co-infected with HCV+) is statistically significantly 64% greater compared with an HIV− cohort (HR: 1.64; 95% CI: 1.32, 2.02). The quality of evidence supporting this outcome is very low.
Death censored graft survival was reported for an HIV+ cohort in one study (n=11) however the DCGS rate of the contemporaneous control HIV− cohort was not reported. Because of sparse data the quality of evidence supporting this outcome is very low indicating death censored graft survival is uncertain.
Both the CD4+ T-cell count and HIV viral load appear controlled post transplant with an incidence of opportunistic infection of 20.5%. However, the quality of this evidence for these outcomes is very low indicating uncertainty in these effects. Similarly, because of very low quality evidence there is uncertainty in the rate of acute graft rejection among both the HIV+ and HIV− groups
Liver Transplantation: HIV+/HCV+ vs. HCV+
Based on a combined HIV+/HCV+ cohort sample size of 156 from seven studies, the risk of death after liver transplantation is significantly greater (2.8 fold) in a co-infected cohort compared with an HCV+ mono-infected cohort (HR: 2.81; 95% CI: 1.47, 5.37). The quality of evidence supporting this outcome is very low. Death censored graft survival evidence was not available.
Regarding disease progression, based on a combined sample size of 71 persons in the co-infected cohort, the CD4+ T-cell count and HIV viral load appear controlled post transplant; however, again the quality of evidence supporting this outcome is very low. The rate of opportunistic infection in the co-infected cohort was 7.2%. The quality of evidence supporting this estimate is very low, indicating uncertainty in these estimates of effect.
Based on a combined HIV+/HCV+ cohort (n=57) the rate of acute graft rejection does not differ to that of an HCV+ mono-infected cohort (OR: 0.88; 95% CI: 0.44, 1.76). Also based on a combined HIV+/HCV+ cohort (n=83), the rate of HCV+ recurrence does not differ to that of an HCV+ mono-infected cohort (OR: 0.66; 95% CI: 0.27, 1.59). In both cases, the quality of the supporting evidence was very low.
Overall, because of very low quality evidence there is uncertainty in the effect of kidney or liver transplantation in HIV+ persons with end stage organ failure compared with those not infected with HIV. Examining the economics of this issue, the cost of kidney and liver transplants in an HIV+ patient population are, on average, 56K and 147K per case, based on both Canadian and American experiences.
PMCID: PMC3377507  PMID: 23074407
10.  Additive effect modification of hepatitis B surface antigen and e antigen on the development of hepatocellular carcinoma. 
British Journal of Cancer  1996;73(12):1498-1502.
To assess the role of hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) and its interaction with hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) on the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), this case-control study included 361 age- and sex-matched pairs of patients with histologically proven HCC and healthy control subjects. HBsAg, HBeAg and antibody to HBeAg (anti-HBe) were detected by radioimmunoassay. Antibodies to hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV) were detected by second-generation enzyme immunoassay. The prevalences of HBeAg (20.2%), HBsAg (80.3%) and anti-HCV (29.5%) in cases were higher than in controls (1.9%, 20.7%, and 2.7% respectively; each P < 0.0001). Using patients negative for HBsAg, HBeAg and anti-HBe as a referent group, univariate analysis indicated that HBsAg alone or HBsAg and HBeAg were risk factors for HCC (P for trend < 0.0001). Calculation of incremental odds ratio indicated that there was additive interaction between HBsAg and HBeAg. Multivariate analysis indicated that HCC development was strongly associated with the presence of HBeAg (odds ratio, 8.1; 95% confidence interval, 2.4-27.1), HBsAg (odds ratio, 68.4; 95% confidence interval, 20.5-227.8) and anti-HCV (odds ratio, 59.3; 95% confidence interval, 13.6-258.4). In conclusion, HBsAg, HBeAg and anti-HCV are independent risk factors for HCC. There is additive and independent effect modification between HBsAg and HBeAg on the development of HCC.
PMCID: PMC2074539  PMID: 8664119
11.  Survival rates of early-stage HCV-related liver cirrhosis patients without hepatocellular carcinoma are decreased by alcohol 
Although alcohol abuse is the most common cause of liver cirrhosis in the United States, the enhancing effects of alcohol on the long-term prognosis of hepatitis C virus (HCV) related liver cirrhosis has not been clarified. To investigate how alcohol abuse influences the prognosis of hepatitis virus related liver cirrhosis, we studied 716 Japanese patients. Cumulative survival and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development rates were analyzed in alcohol abusive, cirrhotic patients with or without hepatitis virus infection. Patients who abused alcohol were younger (p<0.0001) than HCV infected, non-abusive patients. The overall survival rate among patients with alcoholic cirrhosis (Al group), HCV related cirrhosis (HCV group), and HCV infected + alcoholic cirrhosis (HCV + Al group), showed no significant differences, although the 10-year cumulative survival rate of Al group was the highest of the three groups. The HCC development rate of Al group was the lowest. In addition, alcohol abuse decreased the survival rates of HCV group in the early stage with no HCC (p = 0.0028). In conclusion, alcohol abuse might affect the progression of liver damage in HCV infected patients with liver cirrhosis in the early stage, although the influence of alcohol abuse on the long term prognosis seems to be rather small.
PMCID: PMC3045691  PMID: 21373271
prognosis of liver cirrhosis; alcoholic liver disease; hepatitis C virus; hepatocellular carcinoma
12.  The natural history of HCV in a cohort of haemophilic patients infected between 1961 and 1985 
Gut  2000;47(6):845-851.
AIM—This study describes the long term follow up of haemophilic patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) between 1961 and 1985.
METHODS—Clinical and treatment records from 310 patients with inherited coagulation disorders treated with blood product before 1985 were reviewed. Standard survival analysis methods were used to model progression to liver failure and death.
RESULTS—A total of 298/305 (98%) patients tested were anti-HCV positive. Twenty seven (9%) individuals consistently HCV polymerise chain reaction negative were considered to have cleared the virus. By 1 September 1999, 223/310 (72%) were alive, 26 (8%) had died a liver related death, and 61 (20%) had died from other, predominantly human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) related, causes. Kaplan-Meier progression rates to death from any cause and liver related deaths 25 years after exposure to HCV were 47% (95% confidence intervals (CI) 34-60) and 19% (95% CI 10-27), respectively. After 13.3 years from 1985, by which time all patients had seroconverted to HIV, progression rates to death from any cause and liver related deaths were, respectively, 8% (95% CI 4-13) and 3% (95% CI 0.4-6) for those HIV negative, and 57% (95% CI 48-66) and 21% (95% CI 13-31) for those HIV positive (p=0.0001). Using Cox proportional hazard models, the adjusted relative hazard of death for individuals coinfected with HIV compared with those infected with HCV alone was 19.47 (95% CI 9.22-41.10), 0.99 (95% CI 0.39-2.53), 3.47 (95% CI 1.40-8.63), and 9.74 (95% CI 3.91-24.26) for the age groups at infection 10-19 years, 20-29 years, and >30 years, respectively, compared with the age group <10 years. The adjusted relative hazard for genotype 1 compared with other genotypes was 2.7 (95% CI 1.36-5.15) .
CONCLUSIONS—While 25 year follow up of 310 haemophilic patients has shown the potentially lethal combination of HIV and HCV coinfection, HCV singly infected individuals show slow progression of liver disease.

Keywords: hepatitis C virus; human immunodeficiency virus; haemophilia
PMCID: PMC1728144  PMID: 11076885
13.  Effect of HIV infection-related factors on SVR rate in HCV treatment in HIV-infected patients 
Journal of the International AIDS Society  2014;17(4Suppl 3):19635.
Factors that have an effect on the rate of sustained virological response (SVR) in chronic hepatitis C (CHC) patients include: genotype of hepatitis C virus (HCV); level of HCV RNA replication and rate of its reduction in the course of treatment; original hepatic fibrosis level; genotype of Interleukin-28B (especially for Genotype 1 HCV – G1); daily ribavirin (RBV) dose. This study evaluated the effect of the HIV infection-related factors on the SVR rate in HCV treatment in patients with concurrent infection (HIV/HCV).
The follow-up included 232 HIV/HCV-infected patients. Ninety-nine of 232 patients with HIV/HCV-infection received antiretroviral therapy (ART) for at least three months before the initiation of the CHC treatment. Before the HCV therapy, the median of CD4+cells was 406/mm3 (with ART) and 507/mm3 (without ART). Patients received HCV treatment with pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) and RBV (1000/12,000 mg/day) during 24–48 weeks.
SVR was received in 50% of patients with G1 HCV, and 80.1% of patients with Genotypes 2/3 (G2/3; p<0.0001). The SVR rate in the group of patients without ART was reliably higher, 74.4% (with ART – 58.6%; p=0.0053). No significant differences in the SVR rate (62.3% and 69.6%, accordingly) were detected after the differentiation of patients based on the initial absolute values of CD4+cells count (<350 cells/mm3 and >350 cells/mm3). In 127 patients with the HIV/HCV-infection, the percentage of CD4+cells before the CHC treatment was >25% and more (Group 1 [Gr. 1]), and in 105 patients ≤25% (Group 2 [Gr. 2]). The SVR rate for Gr. 1 patient was 74.6%, and for Gr. 2 patients –58.1% (p=0.0023). The SVR rate in patients with G1 HCV was 56.8% (Gr. 1) and 44.2% (Gr. 2; p=0.1095), whereas the rate for G2 and 3 was 85.5% and 71.7%, accordingly (p=0.0242). Forty patients in Gr. 1 and 59 patients in Gr. 2 received ART. The comparison of the SVR rate for these patients showed no significant differences: 60% and 57.6%, accordingly. SVR rate in the patients without ART demonstrated that for Gr.1 patients (CD4+>25%) was reliably higher, 82.8% (compared to Gr.2 with 58.7%; p=0.0012).
Along with factors related to HCV and the patient, the SVR rate in the HCV treatment with PEG-IFN and RBV may be affected in patients with the concurrent infection by the use of ART and original relative content of CD4+cells. The maximum SVR rate was achieved in the patients without ART and with the CD4+cells >25% (baseline). When indicted, it is reasonable to provide HCV treatment to HIV-infected patients as long as the percentage of CD4+cells remains high and there is no need of ART.
PMCID: PMC4224794  PMID: 25394139
14.  Viral Hepatitis Among Somali Immigrants in Minnesota: Association of Hepatitis C With Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
Mayo Clinic Proceedings  2012;87(1):17-24.
To study the frequencies of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, and their associations with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in immigrant Somalis seen at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Patients and Methods
We determined the frequencies of HBV and HCV infection and HCC in immigrant Somalis seen at Mayo Clinic from July 1, 1996, through October 31, 2009. Non-Somali Olmsted County residents served as controls.
For Somali males and females, age-adjusted proportions (per 1000 population) were 209 and 123 for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), 644 and 541 for hepatitis B core antibody (HBcAb), and 99 and 66 for anti-HCV. The comparative proportions in non-Somalis were 20 and 9 for HBsAg, 126 and 97 for HBcAb, and 32 and 17 for anti-HCV. Hepatitis C virus RNA confirmed that 68 of 73 Somalis (93.2%) and 261 of 282 non-Somalis (92.6%) with positive anti-HCV test results had active HCV infection. Of 30 Somali patients with HCC, 22 (73.3%) tested anti-HCV positive (odds ratio [OR], 31.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 13.0-75.5; P<.001; compared with anti-HCV–negative Somalis), 5 (16.7%) were HBsAg positive (OR, 1.4; 95% CI, 0.5-3.7; P=.53), and 18 (60.0%) were HBcAb positive (OR, 1.8; 95% CI, 0.8-4.2; P=.16). Viral hepatitis was diagnosed coincident with HCC in 9 of 20 patients (45.0%) with HCV-associated HCCs. Only 4 of 24 cases of HCC (16.7%) were detected during surveillance.
Both HBV and HCV occurred frequently in this sample of Somali immigrants. However, HCV was the major risk factor for HCC. Screening Somali immigrants for HCV infection may enhance the prevention, early detection, and optimal treatment of HCC.
PMCID: PMC3337857  PMID: 22212964
15.  Chemoprevention of hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with hepatitis C virus related cirrhosis 
World Journal of Hepatology  2013;5(10):521-527.
Interferon (IFN) therapy has been reported to decrease the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and improve survival by preventing liver-related deaths in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, while the role of IFN therapy on the natural history of hepatitis C related cirrhosis is still under debate. The ideal goal of therapy is to prevent the progression into end-stage disease. The use of IFN in patients with HCV compensated cirrhosis reduces the negative clinical evolution independently of the type of laboratoristic and virological response. In our experience, IFN therapy in HCV compensated cirrhosis is barely useful in prevention of HCC, as cirrhosis itself represents a risk of cancer. Some authors noted that IFN treatment reduces the risk of HCC independently of the virological response. It would probably be interesting to evaluate the efficacy of weekly low-dose pegylated (PEG)-IFN therapy in patients with HCV cirrhosis and to assess potential benefits of long-term PEG-IFN plus Ribavirin treatment.
PMCID: PMC3812454  PMID: 24179611
Chemoprevention; Cirrhosis; Hepatitis C virus; Hepatocellular carcinoma
16.  Current therapy for hepatitis C or D or immunodeficiency virus concurrent infection with chronic hepatitis B 
Hepatology International  2008;2(3):296-303.
Concurrent hepatitis C virus (HCV), hepatitis delta virus (HDV), or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) appears to increase the risk of progressive liver disease including liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. There is a 10% prevalence of HCV infection in chronic HBV or HDV infection. Serological evidence of previous exposure to HBV is found in more than 80% of HIV-positive patients in the high risk group. Notably, the most recently acquired virus tends to suppress the pre-existing virus. In chronic HBV infection acquired perinatally or in early childhood, usually HCV is dominant and may suppress or even displace HBV and HDV. Less frequently, HBV or HDV suppresses HCV. It is generally agreed that the dominant virus should be identified in order to make appropriate treatment decisions. Studies with standard interferon (IFN) to treat patients with HCV dominantly dual HBV/HCV infection have showed only limited virological response. But high dose of IFN has been demonstrated with better response rate. Combined ribavirin with standard or pegylated IFN therapy could achieve a sustained HCV clearance rate comparable with those infected with HCV alone. On the contrary, patients with HBV dominantly dual viral infection might indicate more appropriate addition of lamivudine to IFN than ribavirin. Additionally, patients with concurrent infection of HBV and HDV, IFN seems to be the only effective agent. However, the efficacy of IFN is related to the dose. High dose of IFN [9 MU tiw (thrice per week)] and longer treatment duration (at least 2 years) have been shown to achieve adequate virological response. In patients with concurrently infected HBV and HIV, anti-HBV therapy should be considered for all patients with evidence of liver disease, irrespective of the CD4 cell count. In patients not requiring antiretroviral therapy, HBV therapy should be preferentially based on IFN, adefovir, or telbivudine. In contrast, in patients with CD4 cell counts <350 cells/μl or those already on antiretroviral therapy, agents with double anti-HBV and anti-HIV activity are preferred. At present, the evidence of therapeutic efficacy is not sufficient to make a recommendation in treating patients with dual HBV/HCV or HBV/HDV or HBV/HIV infection. Further studies of the well-designed, larger scale are needed to elucidate the role of different regimens or combination in the treatment of dual viral infection.
PMCID: PMC2716893  PMID: 19669257
Hepatitis B virus; Hepatitis C virus; Hepatitis delta virus; Human immunodeficiency virus; Concurrent infection
17.  Impact of antibody to hepatitis B core antigen on the clinical course of hepatitis C virus carriers in a hyperendemic area in Japan: a community-based cohort study 
Subjects positive for antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (HBcAb) and negative for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) are considered to have occult hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of occult HBV infection on aggravation of the clinical course in hepatitis C virus (HCV) carriers.
A prospective cohort study was performed in 400 subjects who were positive for anti-HCV antibody and negative for HBsAg. Among these subjects, 263 were HCV core antigen-positive or HCV RNA-positive (HCV carriers). We examined whether the presence of HBcAb affected the clinical course in these HCV carriers from 1996 to 2005.
The HBcAb-positive rates were 53.6% and 52.6% in HCV carriers and HCV RNA-negative subjects, respectively. There were no differences in the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and cumulative mortality associated with liver-related death between HCV carriers who were positive and negative for HBcAb. In multivariate analysis, age (≥65 years old) and alanin aminotransferase level (≥31 IU/L) emerged as independent risk factors for HCC development and liver-related death, but the HBcAb status was not a risk factor. In addition, increased serum hepatic fibrosis markers (measured from 2001 to 2004) were not associated with HBcAb status.
In our cohort study, the presence of HBcAb had no impact on HCC development, liver-related death and hepatic fibrosis markers in HCV carriers. Thus, our results indicate that occult HBV infection has no impact on the clinical course in HCV carriers.
PMCID: PMC3710530  PMID: 23413835
antibody to hepatitis B core antigen; occult hepatitis B virus infection; hepatitis C virus; hepatocellular carcinoma; mortality; hepatic fibrosis
18.  Effect of Previous Interferon-based Therapy on Recurrence after Curative Treatment of Hepatitis C Virus-related Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
Previous reports have shown that interferon (IFN)-based therapy decreases the risk of development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. However, it remains to be fully elucidated whether elimination of HCV by IFN-based therapy inhibits HCC recurrence after curative treatment, such as surgical resection and local ablation therapies. In this study, we aimed to clarify the influence of a sustained virological response (SVR) after IFN-based therapy on recurrence and survival after curative treatment of HCC. Fifty-one patients who underwent curative treatment of HCV-related HCC after receiving IFN-based therapy were analyzed retrospectively. They were classified into SVR (N = 14) and non-SVR groups (N = 37). In the SVR group, serum levels of aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase, the indocyanine green retention rate at 15 min, and the percentages of patients with liver cirrhosis and HCV serotype 1 were significantly lower, whereas serum albumin level and platelet count were significantly higher upon HCC occurrence. Recurrence-free survival (RFS) for the first recurrence was significantly higher in the SVR group (P < 0.01). Multivariate analysis showed that SVR at initial HCC treatment (P < 0.01) and multiple tumors (P < 0.01) are prognostic factors for RFS. Moreover, RFS for the second recurrence showed a similar trend to that for the first recurrence. In conclusion, patients who underwent IFN-based therapy before initial curative treatment of HCC had a favorable clinical outcome compared with non-SVR patients.
PMCID: PMC4025170  PMID: 24843320
HCC; HCV; IFN; recurrence; SVR.
19.  A Novel Diagnostic Target in the Hepatitis C Virus Genome 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(2):e1000031.
Detection and quantification of hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA is integral to diagnostic and therapeutic regimens. All molecular assays target the viral 5′-noncoding region (5′-NCR), and all show genotype-dependent variation of sensitivities and viral load results. Non-western HCV genotypes have been under-represented in evaluation studies. An alternative diagnostic target region within the HCV genome could facilitate a new generation of assays.
Methods and Findings
In this study we determined by de novo sequencing that the 3′-X-tail element, characterized significantly later than the rest of the genome, is highly conserved across genotypes. To prove its clinical utility as a molecular diagnostic target, a prototype qualitative and quantitative test was developed and evaluated multicentrically on a large and complete panel of 725 clinical plasma samples, covering HCV genotypes 1–6, from four continents (Germany, UK, Brazil, South Africa, Singapore). To our knowledge, this is the most diversified and comprehensive panel of clinical and genotype specimens used in HCV nucleic acid testing (NAT) validation to date. The lower limit of detection (LOD) was 18.4 IU/ml (95% confidence interval, 15.3–24.1 IU/ml), suggesting applicability in donor blood screening. The upper LOD exceeded 10−9 IU/ml, facilitating viral load monitoring within a wide dynamic range. In 598 genotyped samples, quantified by Bayer VERSANT 3.0 branched DNA (bDNA), X-tail-based viral loads were highly concordant with bDNA for all genotypes. Correlation coefficients between bDNA and X-tail NAT, for genotypes 1–6, were: 0.92, 0.85, 0.95, 0.91, 0.95, and 0.96, respectively; X-tail-based viral loads deviated by more than 0.5 log10 from 5′-NCR-based viral loads in only 12% of samples (maximum deviation, 0.85 log10). The successful introduction of X-tail NAT in a Brazilian laboratory confirmed the practical stability and robustness of the X-tail-based protocol. The assay was implemented at low reaction costs (US$8.70 per sample), short turnover times (2.5 h for up to 96 samples), and without technical difficulties.
This study indicates a way to fundamentally improve HCV viral load monitoring and infection screening. Our prototype assay can serve as a template for a new generation of viral load assays. Additionally, to our knowledge this study provides the first open protocol to permit industry-grade HCV detection and quantification in resource-limited settings.
Christian Drosten and colleagues develop, validate, and make openly available a prototype hepatitis C virus assay based on the conserved 3' X-tail element, with potential for clinical use in developing countries.
Editors' Summary
About 3% of the world's population (170 million people) harbor long-term (chronic) infections with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and about 3–4 million people are newly infected with this virus every year. HCV—a leading cause of chronic hepatitis (inflammation of the liver)—is spread through contact with the blood of an infected person. Globally, the main routes of transmission are the use of unscreened blood for transfusions and the reuse of inadequately sterilized medical instruments, including needles. In affluent countries, where donated blood is routinely screened for the presence of HCV, most transmission is through needle sharing among drug users. The risk of sexual and mother-to-child transmission of HCV is low. Although HCV infection occasionally causes an acute (short-lived) illness characterized by tiredness and jaundice (yellow eyes and skin), most 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 called interferon and ribavirin, but these drugs are expensive and are ineffective in many patients.
Why Was This Study Done?
An effective way to limit the global spread of HCV might be to introduce routine screening of the blood that is used for transfusions in developing countries. In developed countries, HCV screening of blood donors use expensive, commercial “RT-PCR” assays to detect small amounts of HCV ribonucleic acid (RNA; HCV stores the information it needs to replicate itself—its genome—as a sequence of “ribonucleotides”). All the current HCV assays, which can also quantify the amount of viral RNA in the blood (the viral load) during treatment, detect a target sequence in the viral genome called the 5′-noncoding region (5′-NCR). However, there are several different HCV “genotypes” (strains). These genotypes vary in their geographical distribution and, even though the 5′-NCR sequence is very similar (highly conserved) in the common genotypes (HCV genotypes 1–6), the existing assays do not detect all the variants equally well. This shortcoming, together with their high cost, means that 5′-NCR RT-PCR assays are not ideal for use in many developing countries. In this study, the researchers identify an alternative diagnostic target sequence in the HCV genome—the 3′-X-tail element—and ask whether this sequence can be used to develop a new generation of tests for HCV infection that might be more appropriate for use in developing countries.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers determined the RNA sequence of the 3′-X-tail element in reference samples of the major HCV genotypes and showed that this region of the HCV genome is as highly conserved as the 5′-NCR. They then developed a prototype X-tail RT-PCR assay and tested its ability to detect small amounts of HCV and to measure viral load in genotype reference samples and in a large panel of HCV-infected blood samples collected in Germany, the UK, Brazil, South Africa, and Singapore. The new assay detected low levels of HCV RNA in all of the genotype reference samples and was also able to quantify high RNA concentrations. The viral load estimates it provided for the clinical samples agreed well with those obtained using a commercial assay irrespective of the sample's HCV genotype. Finally, the X-tail RT-PCR assay gave similar results to a standard assay at a fraction of the cost when used to measure viral loads in a Brazilian laboratory in an independent group of 127 patient samples collected in Brazil.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the HCV 3′-X-tail element could provide an alternative target for screening blood samples for HCV infection and for monitoring viral loads during treatment, irrespective of HCV genotype. In addition, they suggest that X-tail RT-PCR assays may be stable and robust enough for use in laboratories in emerging countries. Overall, these findings should stimulate the development of a new generation of clinical HCV assays that, because the protocol used in the X-tail assay is freely available, could improve blood safety in developing countries by providing a cheap and effective alternative to existing proprietary HCV assays.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The World Health Organization has a fact sheet about hepatitis C (in English and French)
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 MedlinePlus Encyclopedia has a page on hepatitis C; MedlinePlus also provides links to further information on hepatitis C (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC2637920  PMID: 19209955
20.  Hepatitis C virus infection in Egyptian children with type 1 diabetes mellitus: A single center study 
Only few studies have evaluated the epidemiology and risk factors of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in Egyptian children with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). The present study aimed at measurement of the rates of anti-HCV positivity by Enzyme-Linked Immuno-Sorbent Assay (ELISA) test and of HCV-Ribonucleic acid (RNA) positivity by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) among children with T1DM and to study the possible risk factors of infection.
Settings and Design:
Cross-sectional controlled study.
Materials and Methods:
The study included 150 children with T1DM (Group 1) (mean age 14. 76 ± 6.4 years). Fifty children age and sex-matched were included as control group (Group 2) (mean age 13.62 ± 2.11 years). They were screened for HCV antibodies using third generation ELISA and HCV-RNA positivity by PCR.
The frequency of anti-HCV positivity by ELISA was significantly higher in children with T1DM (n = 150) in comparison wiith control group (n = 50) (12% vs 6%; P<0.001), while the frequency of HCV-RNA positivity by PCR among the cases testing positive by ELISA was 75% for both diabetic group and control group. There were no significant differences in serum levels of liver biochemical profile in diabetic children with anti-HCV positivity (n = 18) in comparison to those with anti-HCV negativity (n = 132). Residence in rural area, low socioeconomic class and prior hospitalization were significant risk factors for anti-HCV positivity by ELISA.
The frequency of HCV infection in children with T1DM in Upper Egypt appears to be high and is mainly related to residence in rural area, low socioeconomic class and prior hospitalization. HCV infection in these children is not associated with significant changes in hepatic biochemical parameters.
Implementation of strict infection control measures are highly recommended to reduce the frequency of HCV infection. Furthermore, the silent evolution of HCV infection in children makes periodic screening of HCV in diabetic children mandatory.
PMCID: PMC3987270  PMID: 24741516
Alanine aminotransferase; hepatitis C virus; infection; type 1 diabetes mellitus
21.  A retrospective case-control study of hepatitis C virus infection and oral lichen planus in Japan: association study with mutations in the core and NS5A region of hepatitis C virus 
BMC Gastroenterology  2012;12:31.
The aims of this study were to assess the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in Japanese patients with oral lichen planus and identify the impact of amino acid (aa) substitutions in the HCV core region and IFN-sensitivity-determining region (ISDR) of nonstructural protein 5A (NS5A) associated with lichen planus.
In this retrospective study, 59 patients (group 1-A) with oral lichen planus among 226 consecutive patients who visited our hospital and 85 individuals (group 1-B, controls) with normal oral mucosa were investigated for the presence of liver disease and HCV infection. Risk factors for the presence of oral lichen planus were assessed by logistic regression analysis. We compared aa substitutions in the HCV core region (70 and/or 91) and ISDR of NS5A of 12 patients with oral lichen planus (group 2-A) and 7 patients who did not have oral lichen planus (group 2-B) among patients (high viral loads, genotype 1b) who received interferon (IFN) therapy in group1-A.
The prevalence of anti-HCV and HCV RNA was 67.80% (40/59) and 59.32% (35/59), respectively, in group 1-A and 31.76% (27/85) and 16.47% (14/85), respectively, in group 1-B. The prevalence of anti-HCV (P < 0.0001) and HCV RNA (P < 0.0001) in group 1-A was significantly higher than those in group 1-B. According to multivariate analysis, three factors - positivity for HCV RNA, low albumin level (< 4.0 g/dL), and history of smoking - were associated with the development of oral lichen planus. The adjusted odds ratios for these three factors were 6.58, 3.53 and 2.58, respectively, and each was statistically significant. No significant differences in viral factors, such as aa substitutions in the core region and ISDR of NS5A, were detected between the two groups (groups 2-A and -B).
We observed a high prevalence of HCV infection in patients with oral lichen planus. Longstanding HCV infection, hypoalbuminemia, and smoking were significant risk factors for the presence of oral lichen planus in patients. It is advisable for Japanese patients with lichen planus to be tested for HCV infection during medical examination.
PMCID: PMC3364160  PMID: 22490000
22.  Prevalence of Occult Hepatitis B Virus in Plasma and Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell Compartments of Patients With Chronic Hepatitis C Infection in Tehran-Iran 
Hepatitis Monthly  2013;13(5):e10134.
Occult hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection (OBI) is frequently reported in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. An association between OBI and more liver damage, cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and reduced response to interferon therapy in patients with HCV infection is suggested.
The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of occult HBV, and evaluate its clinical influence on patients with chronic HCV.
Patients and Methods
A cohort study including50 patients with positive results for HCV, and negative results for HBsAg tests was performed. The patients were divided into two groups: one group had positive results for both HCV and occult HBV tests (n = 18), and the other had positive results for HCV, but negative findings for occult HBV (n = 32). All were treated with PEG-IFN alpha-2a and Ribavirin. Presence of HCV RNA was followed in these patients.
HBV-DNA was detected using nested-PCR in 20% of plasma and 32.6% of peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) compartments. No significant differences were observed between patients with and without occult HBV for sex, age, duration of HCV infection, histological markers, presence of anti-HBc, HCV viral load, and HCV genotype. The response rate was significantly higher in patients with positive results for HBV-DNA test compared to those with negative findings (100% vs. 71.9 %, P < 0.05).
In conclusion, occult HBV was found in 36% of patients with negative results for HBsAg, but positive results for HCV. Detection of HBV-DNA in both PBMCs and plasma together in comparison with plasma alone provided more true identification of OBI.The SVR rate was significantly higher in coinfected patients than mono-infected ones.
PMCID: PMC3741907  PMID: 23967017
Hepatitis B; Hepatitis C Virus; Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell
23.  Relationship between vitamin D and IL-23, IL-17 and macrophage chemoattractant protein-1 as markers of fibrosis in hepatitis C virus Egyptians 
World Journal of Hepatology  2012;4(8):242-247.
AIM: To assess vitamin D in hepatitis C patients and its relationship to interleukin (IL)-23, IL-17, and macrophage chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1).
METHODS: The study was conducted on 50 Egyptian hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype number IV-infected patients and 25 age- and gender-matched healthy subjects. Venous blood samples were obtained. Samples were allowed to clot and sera were separated by centrifugation and stored at -20 °C. A 25 hydroxy vitamin D assay was carried out using solid phase RIA. A 1,25 dihydroxy vitamin D assay was carried out using a commercial kit purchased from Incstar Corporation. IL-17 and -23 and MCP-1 were assayed by an enzyme immunoassay. Quantitative and qualitative polymerase chain reaction for HCV virus were done by TaqMan technology. Only HCV genotype IV-infected subjects were included in the study. The mean ± SD were determined, a t-test for comparison of means of different parameters was used. Correlation analysis was done using Pearson’s correlation. Differences among different groups were determined using the Kruskal-Wallis test.
RESULTS: The mean vitamin D level in HCV patients (group I) was 15 ± 5.2 ng/mL while in control (group II) was 39.7 ± 10.8. For active vitamin D in group I as 16.6 ± 4.8 ng/mL while in group II was 41.9 ± 7.9. IL-23 was 154 ± 97.8 in group I and 6.7 ± 2.17 in group II. IL-17 was 70.7 ± 72.5 in cases and 1.2 ± 0.4 in control. MCP-1 was 1582 ± 794.4 in group I and 216.1 ± 5.38 in group II. Vitamin D deficiency affected 72% of HCV-infected patients and 0% of the control group. Vitamin D insufficiency existed in 28% of HCV-infected patients and 12% of the control group. One hundred percent of the cirrhotic patients and 40% of non cirrhotic HCV-infected patients had vitamin D deficiency. IL-23, IL-17, and MCP-1 were markedly increased in HCV-infected patients in comparison to controls.A significant negative correlation between vitamin D and IL-17 and -23 and MCP-1 was detected. HCV-infected males and females showed no differences with respect to viral load, vitamin D levels, IL-17, IL-23 and MCP-1. The viral load was negatively correlated with vitamin D and active vitamin D (P = 0.0001 and P = 0.001, respectively), while positively correlated with IL-23, IL-17, and MCP-1. We classified the patients according to sonar findings into four groups. Group Ia with bright hepatomegaly and included 14 patients. Group Ib with perihepatic fibrosis and included 11 patients. Group Ic with liver cirrhosis and included 11 patients. Group Id with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and included 14 patients. Vitamin D and active vitamin D were shown to be lower in cirrhotic patients and much lower in patients with HCC, and this difference was highly significant (P = 0.0001). IL-17 and -23 and MCP-1 were higher in advanced liver disease) and the differences were highly significant (P = 0.0001).
CONCLUSION: Whether the deficiency of vitamin D is related to HCV-induced chronic liver disease or predisposing factor for higher viral load is a matter of debate.
PMCID: PMC3443706  PMID: 22993666
Vitamin D; Macrophage chemoattractant protin-1; Liver cirrhosis; Interleukin-23; Interleukin-17; Liver cirrhosis
24.  Effect and Safety of Interferon for Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e61361.
The effect of interferon(IFN) in the management of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains controversial, and no clear recommendations have been proposed.
To evaluate the effect and safety of IFN for HCC.
PubMed, OvidSP, and Cochrane Library were searched from their establishment date until August 30, 2012. Studies that met the inclusion criteria were systematically evaluated and then subjected to meta-analysis.
Thirteen randomized control trials (RCTs) involving 1344 patients were eligible for this study. When IFN was used as an adjuvant therapy for HCC patients after curative therapy, the meta-analysis showed that IFN reduced the 1-, 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-year recurrence rates. Subgroup analysis showed that IFN reduced the 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-year recurrence rates of hepatitis C viral (HCV)-related HCC. The effect of IFN for on hepatitis B virus(HBV)-related HCC patients could not be determined because of isufficient data. After surgical resection, adjuvant IFN therapy reduced the 4- and 5- recurrence rates. All studies reported that IFN could not improve the overall survival of HCV-realated HCC patients after curative therapies. Only one study showed that IFN was associated with better overall survival in HCC patients after curative therapy and subgroup of HCC patients after surgical resection. Thus, meta-analysis was not performed. Different treatment options were used as control to study the effect of IFN for intermediate and advanced HCC patients, thus meta-analysis was not appropriate. All included studies, except for one, reported that IFN treatment was well tolerated.
After curative therapies, adjuvant IFN reduced the recurrence of HCC. IFN did not improve the survival of HCV-related HCC patients after curative therapy. Whether IFN is effective for intermediate and advanced HCC patients could not be determined because of insufficient data. The toxicity of IFN was acceptable.
PMCID: PMC3775819  PMID: 24069133
25.  Rates and impact of hepatitis on human immunodeficiency virus infection in a large African cohort 
AIM: To determine the rates and impact of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections on response to long-term highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in a large human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) population in Nigeria.
METHODS: HBV and HCV as well as HIV infections are endemic in sub Saharan Africa. This was a retrospective cohort study of 19 408 adults who were recruited between June 2004 and December 2010 in the AIDS Prevention Initiative in Nigeria in Nigeria programme at Jos University Teaching Hospital. Serological assays, including HBV surface antigen (HBsAg) and hepatitis C antibody were used to categorise hepatitis status of the patients. HBsAg was determined using enzyme immunoassay (EIA) (Monolisa HBsAg Ultra3; Bio-Rad). HCV antibody was tested using third generation EIA (DIA.PRO Diagnostic, Bioprobes srl, Milan, Italy). HIV RNA levels were measured using Roche COBAS Amplicor HIV-1 monitor test version 1.5 (Roche Diagnostics, GmbH, Mannheim, Germany) with a detection limit of 400 copies/mL. Flow cytometry was used to determine CD4+ cell count (Partec, GmbH Munster, Germany). Comparison of categorical and continuous variables were achieved using Pearson’s χ2 and Kruskal Wallis tests respectively, on MedCalc for Windows, version (MedCalc Software, Mariakerke, Belgium).
RESULTS: With an overall hepatitis screening rate of over 90% for each virus; HBV, HCV and HBV/HCV were detected in 3162 (17.8%), 1983 (11.3%) and 453 (2.5%) HIV infected adults respectively. The rate of liver disease was low, but highest among HIV mono-infected patients (29, 0.11%), followed by HBV co-infected patients (15, 0.08%). Patients with HBV co-infection and triple infection had higher log10 HIV RNA loads (HBV: 4.6 copies/mL vs HIV only: 4.5 copies/mL, P < 0.0001) and more severe immune suppression (HBV: 645, 55.4%; HBV/HCV: 97, 56.7%) prior to initiation of HAART compared to HIV mono-infected patients (1852, 48.6%) (P < 0.0001). Of 3025 patients who were 4.4 years on HAART and whose CD4 cell counts results at baseline and end of follow up were available for analyses, CD4 increase was significantly lower in those with HBV co-infection (HBV: 144 cells/mm3; HBV/HCV: 105 cells/mm3) than in those with HCV co-infection (165 cells/mm3) and HIV mono-infection (150 cells/mm3) (P = 0.0008).
CONCLUSION: High rates of HBV and HCV infections were found in this HIV cohort. CD4 recovery was significantly diminished in patients with HBV co-infection.
PMCID: PMC3602477  PMID: 23538773
Human immunodeficiency virus; Hepatitis B; Hepatitis C; Africa; Liver disease

Results 1-25 (1231198)