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 60% of standard and/or treatment was withdrawn was significantly higher compared with CA/AA genotype.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
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. 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.
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.
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
The standard treatment for patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC), pegylated interferon-α (PEG-IFN) plus ribavirin (RBV) does not provide a sustained virological response (SVR) in all patients. Genetic variations at the interleukin 28B (IL-28B) locus are important in predicting outcome following therapy in CHC patients.
We investigated the role of IL28B variations (rs8099917) in response to PEG-IFN-α/RBV treatment and evaluated its association with the risk of the null virological response (NVR) and relapse (REL) in different viral genotypes. We found that the overall distributions of the genotype among the SVR, NVR, and REL groups were significantly different (P<0.001). Patients with the TG genotype had an increased risk of NVR and REL (OR=6.45 95% CI =2.88–14.47, P<0.001 for NVR; OR=2.51, 95% CI =1.29–4.86, P=0.006 for REL, respectively), and patients with the GG genotype had a further increased risk of NVR and REL (OR=12.04, 95% CI =3.21–45.13, P<0.001 for NVR; ,OR=4.30, 95% CI =1.21–15.13, P=0.017 for REL, respectively). G variant genotypes (TG+GG) also had an increased risk of NVR and REL, and there was a significant trend for a dose-effect of G allele on the risk of NVR and REL (P<0.05). The SVR rate in TT higher than in TG+GG was more pronounced in those patients infected with non-G1 compared to the patients infected with G1. The treatment response did differ based on the rs8099917 genotype in patients with different viral genotypes, compared with patients infected with the non-G1, the G1 infected patients had an increased risk of NVR and REL (OR=2.03 95% CI =1.03–4.01, P=0.04 for NVR and OR=2.58, 95% CI =1.35–4.94, P=0.004 for REL, respectively). Moreover, multivariate regression analysis show that the rs8099917 G allele was the only independent factor significantly associated with a NVR and REL.
This study suggests that host genetic polymorphisms rs8099917 in the vicinity of IL-28B is the most important predictor of treatment response of PEG-IFN-α/RBV for HCV patients in China.
IL-28B; Hepatitis C; Relapse; Sustained virological response; Treatment
An early virological response (EVR) after the start of interferon (IFN) treatment for chronic hepatitis C leads to a successful virological outcome. To analyze an association between sustained virological response (SVR) and EVR by comparing TaqMan with Amplicor assays in HCV genotype 1-infected patients treated with pegylated (PEG)-IFN alpha-2b plus ribavirin (RBV).
We retrospectively analyzed a total of 80 HCV genotype 1 patients (39 SVR and 41 non-SVR patients), who received an enough dosage and a complete 48-week treatment of PEG-IFN alpha-2b plus RBV. Serum HCV RNA levels were measured by both TaqMan and Amplicor assays for each patients at Weeks 2, 4, 8 and 12 after the start of the antiviral treatment.
Of the 80 patients with undetectable HCV RNA by Amplicor, 17 (21.3%) patients were positive for HCV RNA by TaqMan at Weeks 12. The quantification results showed that no significant difference in the decline of HCV RNA level between TaqMan and Amplicor 10-fold method assays within the initial 12 weeks of the treatment was found. However, the qualitative analysis showed significant differences of the positive predictive rates for SVR were found between TaqMan (100% at weeks 4 and 100% at weeks 8) and Amplicor (80.0% and 69.6%, respectively).
The COBAS TaqMan HCV assay is very useful for monitoring HCV viremia during antiviral treatment to predict a SVR in HCV genotype 1 patients.
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.
Chronic hepatitis C is an important health issue worldwide. The current standard therapy is based on a combination of pegylated-interferon (pegIFN) and ribavirin (RBV), but this treatment leads to only ~50% sustained virological response (SVR) in patients with HCV genotype 1 and high viral loads, who were mostly null-responders or relapsers. Among HCV genotypes other than HCV genotype 1, especially HCV genotype 4 patients show only 40–70% SVR by this treatment. Although new drugs also depend on the combination of pegIFN and RBV, it appears that these drugs improve not only rapid virological response (RVR) but also early virological response, leading to SVR in these patients. In the near future, we predict higher SVR rates in chronic hepatitis C patients treated with these new drugs.
EVR; Protease inhibitor; Polymerase inhibitor; Ribavirin; Vitamin D
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a bloodborne infection that is one of the leading causes of liver disease. If left untreated, HCV can lead to cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and death. The current standard of care for HCV is a combination of pegylated-interferon (peg-IFN) and ribavirin (RBV) in which the goal of treatment is to decrease complications and death due to HCV. HCV displays genetic polymorphism, where patients with HCV genotype 1 may have higher viral replication rates and are less likely to respond to treatment. These patients require a longer duration of treatment and a higher RBV dose. The interleukin (IL) 28B genotype test is associated with a sustained virologic response (SVR), defined as an undetectable HCV ribonucleic acid (RNA) upon completion of treatment and 24 weeks thereafter.
Background and Aims
Patients infected with genotype 2b hepatitis C virus (HCV) generally can achieve favorable responses to pegylated-interferon plus ribavirin therapy (PEG-IFN/RBV). However, a proportion of patients show poorer responses and the correlation between viral sequence variation and treatment outcome remains unclear.
The pretreatment complete open reading frame (ORF) sequences of genotype 2b HCV determined by direct sequencing were investigated for correlation with the final outcome in a total of 60 patients.
In this study group, 87.5% (14/16) of non-sustained virological response (non-SVR) patients (n = 16) were relapsers. Compared to sustained virological response (SVR) patients (n = 44), non-SVR patients were older and could not achieve prompt viral clearance after the therapy induction. Comparing each viral protein between the two groups, viral sequences were more diverse in SVR patients and that diversity was found primarily in the E1, p7, and NS5A proteins. In searching for specific viral regions associated with the final outcome, several regions in E2, p7, NS2, NS5A, and NS5B were extracted. Among these regions, part of the interferon sensitivity determining region (ISDR) was included. In these regions, amino acid substitutions were associated with the final outcome in an incremental manner, depending upon the number of substitutions.
Viral sequences are more diverse in SVR patients than non-SVR patients receiving PEG-IFN/RBV therapy for genotype-2b HCV infection. Through systematic comparison of viral sequences, several specific regions, including part of the ISDR, were extracted as having significant correlation with the final outcome.
AIM: To evaluate the efficacy of pegylated interferon α-2b (peg-IFNα-2b) plus ribavirin (RBV) therapy in Japanese patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC) genotype Ib and a high viral load.
METHODS: One hundred and twenty CHC patients (58.3% male) who received peg-IFNα-2b plus RBV therapy for 48 wk were enrolled. Sustained virological response (SVR) and clinical parameters were evaluated.
RESULTS: One hundred (83.3%) of 120 patients completed 48 wk of treatment. 53 patients (44.3%) achieved SVR. Early virological response (EVR) and end of treatment response (ETR) rates were 50% and 73.3%, respectively. The clinical parameters (SVR vs non-SVR) associated with SVR, ALT (108.4 IU/L vs 74.5 IU/L, P = 0.063), EVR (76.4% vs 16.4%, P < 0.0001), adherence to peg-IFN (≥ 80% of planned dose) at week 12 (48.1% vs 13.6%, P = 0.00036), adherence to peg-IFN at week 48 (54.7% vs 16.2%, P < 0.0001) and adherence to RBV at week 48 (56.1% vs 32.1%, P = 0.0102) were determined using univariate analysis, and EVR and adherence to peg-IFN at week 48 were determined using multivariate analysis. In the older patient group (> 56 years), SVR in females was significantly lower than that in males (17% vs 50%, P = 0.0262). EVR and adherence to Peg-IFN were demonstrated to be the main factors associated with SVR.
CONCLUSION: Peg-IFNα-2b plus RBV combination therapy demonstrated good tolerability in Japanese patients with CHC and resulted in a SVR rate of 44.3%. Treatment of elderly female patients is still challenging and maintenance of adherence to peg-IFNα-2b is important in improving the SVR rate.
Chronic hepatitis C; Pegylated interferon; Ribavirin
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
Boceprevir or telaprevir plus ribavirin (RBV) and pegylated interferon-α (pegIFN-α) is the new standard-of-care therapy for patients who are chronically infected with genotype 1 hepatitis C virus (HCV). The addition of these protease inhibitors to the RBV/pegIFN-α combination regimen has significantly improved rates of sustained virologic response (SVR); however, the incidence of anemia has also increased significantly. Anemia can interfere with patients’ quality of life, work productivity, and treatment adherence. Severe anemia can cause morbidity and even mortality. For the management of anemia during triple combination therapy, RBV dose reduction is recommended as an initial course of action. Retrospective analyses of carefully selected patient cohorts suggest that RBV dose reduction does not reduce SVR rates. However, this observation needs to be confirmed in prospective trials with cohorts that more accurately reflect the challenging patients treated in real-world practice. Adequate doses of RBV should be maintained during triple combination therapy, as phase II trials have demonstrated that RBV is essential for attaining optimal SVR rates and preventing viral breakthrough, relapse, and emergence of resistant variants. This roundtable addresses key points related to the management of anemia in the era of triple combination therapy, including the increasing problem of anemia, strategies for anemia management, and the importance of maintaining adequate RBV exposure as part of the HCV treatment regimen.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of interleukin-28B (IL28B) have received considerable interest for their association with sustained virological response (SVR) when treating patients of genotype-1 hepatitis C virus (GT1-HCV) chronic infection with pegylated interferon and ribavirin (PegIFN/RBV). This study was to investigate the predictive power of IL28B SNPs for on-treatment responses and SVR in treatment-naïve patients with GT1-HCV chronic infection.
We analyzed ten SNPs of IL28B in 191 treatment-naïve patients with GT1-HCV chronic infection who received PegIFN/RBV. In these patients, rapid virological response (RVR), early virological response (EVR) and SVR were achieved in 69.6%, 95.8% and 68.6% of the patients, respectively. Multivariate analysis (odds ratio; 95% confidence interval; P value) indicated age (0.96; 0.93–0.99; 0.012), low baseline viral load (4.65; 2.23–9.66; <0.001) and CC genotype of rs12979860 (7.74; 2.55–23.53; <0.001) but no other SNPs were independent predictors for SVR. In addition, none of the ten SNPs examined were associated with baseline viral load and stages of liver fibrosis. Regarding RVR, low baseline viral load (2.83; 1.40–5.73; 0.004) and CC genotype of rs12979860 (10.52; 3.45–32.04; <0.001) were two critical predictors. As for EVR, only CC genotype of rs12979860 (36.21; 6.68–196.38; <0.001) was the predictor. Similarly, for end of treatment response (ETR), CC genotype of rs12979860 (15.42; 4.62–51.18; <0.001) was the only predictor. For patients with RVR, only low baseline viral load (3.90; 1.57–9.68; 0.003) could predict the SVR. For patients without RVR, only rs12979860 (4.60; 1.13–18.65; 0.033) was the predictor for SVR.
rs12979860 is the critical predictor for RVR, EVR, ETR and SVR in treatment-naïve patients of GT1-HCV chronic infection. Furthermore, this SNP is the only predictor for SVR in patients without RVR. These results have provided evidence that rs12979860 is the ideal IL28B SNP for genetic testing in treating patients of GT1-HCV chronic infection.
AIM: To analyze the efficacy and safety of a combination therapy of pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) α-2b plus ribavirin (RBV) in older Japanese patients (65 years or older) infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV).
METHODS: This multicenter study included 938 patients with HCV genotype 1 who received 1.5 μg/kg per week PEG-IFN α-2b plus RBV 600-1000 mg/d for 48 wk and 313 HCV genotype 2 patients who received this treatment for 24 wk.
RESULTS: At 24 wk after the end of combination therapy, the overall sustained virological response (SVR) for genotypes 1 and 2 were 40.7% and 79.6%, respectively. The SVR rate decreased significantly with age in each genotype, and was markedly reduced in genotype 1 (P < 0.001). Moreover, the SVR was significantly higher in patients with genotype 1 who were less than 65 years (47.3% of 685) than in those 65 years or older (22.9% of 253) (P < 0.001) and was higher in patients with genotype 2 who were less than 65 years (82.9% of 252) than in those 65 years or older (65.6% of 61) (P = 0.004). When patients received a dosage at least 80% or more of the target dosage of PEG-IFN α-2b and 60% or more of the target dosage of RBV, the SVR rate significantly increased to 66.5% in patients less than 65 years and to 45.2% in those 65 years or older (P < 0.001). Adverse effects resulted in treatment discontinuation more often in patients with genotype 1 (14.4%) than in patients with genotype 2 (7.3%), especially by patients 65 years or older (24.1%).
CONCLUSION: PEG-IFN α-2b plus RBV treatment was effective in chronic hepatitis C patients 65 years or older who completed treatment with at least the minimum acceptable treatment dosage.
Hepatitis C virus; Gerontology; Pegylated interferon; Ribavirin
The current preferred treatment for patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) is combination therapy consisting of pegylated interferon alfa and ribavirin (RBV) for 24–48 weeks. Although this approach appears to be highly effective for patients with HCV genotypes 2 or 3, who have a sustained virological response (SVR) of approximately 80%, the treatment algorithm is less effective for patients with HCV genotype 1, as these patients have SVR rates of just 40–50%. In order to improve treatment outcomes, this article explores potential approaches for the optimization of treatment for patients with HCV genotype 1: considering shorter treatment periods for patients with a rapid virological response (RVR), increasing treatment periods for slow responders, and increasing RBV dose are all suggestions. Results from clinical trials suggest that approximately 20% of the HCV genotype 1-infected population are slow responders, and around 15% of all HCV genotype-1 infected patients could benefit from a shorter treatment duration without compromising the SVR rate. Interest has also focused on whether treatment duration could be individualized in some patients with genotype 2 and 3 infection. Here all the findings from recent studies are translated into practical advice, to help practitioners make evidence-based treatment decisions in everyday clinical practice. Although there are areas where currently available data do not provide conclusive evidence to suggest amending treatment approaches, there is clearly potential for individualized treatment in all aspects of hepatitis treatment in the future.
hepatitis C; pegylated interferon alfa; ribavirin; treatment; virological response
Over the last decade, the standard of care for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C has been the combination of pegylated-interferon-alfa (PEG-IFN) and ribavirin (RBV) which results in sustained virological response (SVR) rates of 75%-85% in patients with genotypes 2 or 3 but only of 40%-50% in patients with genotype 1. Currently, there are rapid and continuous developments of numerous new agents against hepatitis C virus (HCV), which are the focus of this review. Boceprevir and telaprevir, two first-generation NS3/4A HCV protease inhibitors, have been recently licensed in several countries around the world to be used in combination with PEG-IFN and RBV for the treatment of genotype 1 patients. Boceprevir or telaprevir based triple regimens, compared with the PEG-IFN/RBV combination, improve the SVR rates by 25%-31% in treatment-naïve genotype 1 patients, by 40%-64% in prior relapsers, by 33%-45% in prior partial responders and by 24%-28% in prior null responders. At the same time, the application of response-guided treatment algorithms according to the on-treatment virological response results in shortening of the total therapy duration to only 24 wk in 45%-55% of treatment-naïve patients. There are, however, several challenges with the use of the new triple combinations in genotype 1 patients, such as the need for immediate results of HCV RNA testing using sensitive quantitative assays, new and more frequent adverse events (anemia and dysgeusia for boceprevir; pruritus, rash and anemia for telaprevir), new drug interactions and increasing difficulties in compliance. Moreover, the SVR rates are still poor in very difficult to treat subgroups of genotype 1 patients, such as null responders with cirrhosis, while there is no benefit for patients who cannot tolerate PEG-IFN/RBV or who are infected with non-1 HCV genotype. Many newer anti-HCV agents of different classes and numerous combinations are currently under evaluation with encouraging results. Preliminary data suggest that the treatment of chronic HCV patients with well tolerated combinations of oral agents without PEG-IFN is feasible and may lead to a universal HCV cure over the next 5-10 years.
Chronic hepatitis C; Pegylated interferon; Ribavirin; Protease inhibitors; Nucleos(t)ide analogue inhibitors; Non-nucleos(t)ide analogue inhibitors; Hepatitis C virus polymerase; NS5A inhibitors; Cyclophilin inhibitors
AIM: To study the efficacy and factors associated with a sustained virological response (SVR) in chronic hepatitis C (CHC) relapsing patients.
METHODS: Out of 1228 CHC patients treated with pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) and ribavirin (RBV), 165 (13%) had a relapse. Among these, 62 patients were retreated with PEG-IFN-α2a or -α2b and RBV. Clinical, biological, virological and histological data were collected. Initial doses and treatment modifications were recorded. The efficacy of retreatment and predictive factors for SVR were analyzed.
RESULTS: An SVR was achieved in 42% of patients. SVR was higher in young (< 50 years) (61%) than old patients (27%) (P = 0.007), and in genotype 2 or 3 (57%) than in genotype 1 or 4 (28%) patients (P = 0.023). Prolonging therapy for at least 24 wk more than the previous course was associated with higher SVR rates (53% vs 28%, P = 0.04). Also, a better SVR rate was observed with RBV dose/body weight > 15.2 mg/kg per day (70% vs 35%, P = 0.04). In logistic regression, predictors of a response were age (P = 0.018), genotype (P = 0.048) and initial RBV dose/body weight (P = 0.022). None of the patients without a complete early virological response achieved an SVR (negative predictive value = 100%).
CONCLUSION: Retreatment with PEG-IFN/RBV is eff-ective in genotype 2 or 3 relapsers, especially in young patients. A high dose of RBV seems to be important for the retreatment response.
Chronic hepatitis C; Relapse; Retreatment; Ribavirin; Pegylated interferon
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
Pegylated (PEG)-interferon (IFN)-alfa-2a plus ribavirin (RBV) therapy for 24 weeks is now a standard treatment protocol for patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 2. As RBV cannot be used in certain situations, we examined whether PEG-IFN-alfa-2a monotherapy for 24 weeks or less would be sufficient to obtain a sustained virological response (SVR) in patients infected with HCV genotype 2.
Forty-nine consecutive patients with HCV genotype 2 received PEG-IFN-alfa-2a (180 μg/week) subcutaneously without oral RBV for 8-64 weeks. HCV RNA level was determined by COBAS AMPLICOR HCV Test, v2.0.
HCV RNA was equal to or less than 100 KIU/mL (defined as low viral load) in 15 of 49 patients, and the remaining 34 had HCV RNA above 100 KIU/mL (defined as high viral load). All 15 patients with low viral load achieved rapid virological response (RVR; HCV RNA negative at week 4), and also achieved SVR with an average treatment duration of 17.1 weeks. The 34 patients with high viral load were treated for 33.7 weeks on average, and 19 of them (55.9%) achieved RVR. The SVR rates of these patients were significantly higher in those with RVR than without RVR (16/19 vs. 6/15 p = 0.0074).
PEG-IFN-alfa-2a monotherapy for 24 weeks or less might be sufficient to treat selected patients with HCV genotype 2, especially those with low viral load and becoming negative for HCV RNA by week 4 of treatment.
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
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a member of Flaviviridae family and one of the major causes of liver disease. There are about 175 million HCV infected patients worldwide that constitute 3% of world's population. The main route of HCV transmission is parental however 90% intravenous drug users are at highest risk. Standard interferon and ribavirin remained a gold standard of chronic HCV treatment having 38-43% sustained virological response rates. Currently the standard therapy for HCV is pegylated interferon (PEG-INF) with ribavirin. This therapy achieves 50% sustained virological response (SVR) for genotype 1 and 80% for genotype 2 & 3. As pegylated interferon is expensive, standard interferon is still the main therapy for HCV treatment in under developed countries. On the other hand, studies showed that pegylated IFN and RBV therapy has severe side effects like hematological complications. Herbal medicines (laccase, proanthocyandin, Rhodiola kirilowii) are also being in use as a natural and alternative way for treatment of HCV but there is not a single significant report documented yet. Best SVR indicators are genotype 3 and 2, < 0.2 million IU/mL pretreatment viral load, rapid virological response (RVR) rate and age <40 years. New therapeutic approaches are under study like interferon related systems, modified forms of ribavirin, internal ribosome entry site (HCV IRES) inhibitors, NS3 and NS5a inhibitors, novel immunomodulators and specifically targeted anti-viral therapy for hepatitis C compounds. More remedial therapies include caspase inhibitors, anti-fibrotic agents, antibody treatment and vaccines.
Pegylated-interferon plus ribavirin (PEG-IFN/RBV) therapy is a current standard treatment for chronic hepatitis C. We previously reported that the viral sequence heterogeneity of part of NS5A, referred to as the IFN/RBV resistance-determining region (IRRDR), and a mutation at position 70 of the core protein of hepatitis C virus genotype 1b (HCV-1b) are significantly correlated with the outcome of PEG-IFN/RBV treatment. Here, we aimed to investigate the impact of viral genetic variations within the NS5A and core regions of other genotypes, HCV-2a and HCV-2b, on PEG-IFN/RBV treatment outcome. Pretreatment sequences of NS5A and core regions were analyzed in 112 patients infected with HCV-2a or HCV-2b, who were treated with PEG-IFN/RBV for 24 weeks and followed up for another 24 weeks. The results demonstrated that HCV-2a isolates with 4 or more mutations in IRRDR (IRRDR[2a]≥4) was significantly associated with rapid virological response at week 4 (RVR) and sustained virological response (SVR). Also, another region of NS5A that corresponds to part of the IFN sensitivity-determining region (ISDR) plus its carboxy-flanking region, which we referred to as ISDR/+C[2a], was significantly associated with SVR in patients infected with HCV-2a. Multivariate analysis revealed that IRRDR[2a]≥4 was the only independent predictive factor for SVR. As for HCV-2b infection, an N-terminal half of IRRDR having two or more mutations (IRRDR[2b]/N≥2) was significantly associated with RVR, but not with SVR. No significant correlation was observed between core protein polymorphism and PEG-IFN/RBV treatment outcome in HCV-2a or HCV-2b infection. Conclusion: The present results suggest that sequence heterogeneity of NS5A of HCV-2a (IRRDR[2a]≥4 and ISDR/+C[2a]), and that of HCV-2b (IRRDR[2b]/N≥2) to a lesser extent, is involved in determining the viral sensitivity to PEG-IFN/RBV therapy.
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.