Interleukin-28B polymorphisms are associated with histological recurrence and treatment response following liver transplantation in patients with hepatitis C virus infection


  • Potential conflict of interest: One of the authors, J.M., has a significant financial interest in IL28B genotyping. To manage this potential conflict of interest, J.M. (and the entire Duke team) was blinded to all posttransplant outcomes at the time of genotyping. Only after all genotyping was performed and the results disclosed to Mayo investigators were outcomes metrics disclosed to the Duke collaborators, including J.M. No one at Mayo has any financial interest in IL28B testing. Dr. McHutchison is employed by and receives grants from Merck/Schering-Plough. Dr. McHutchison receives grants from Roche and holds intellectual property rights IL28B patent with Labcorp. Dr. Goldstein receives grants from GSK Research and holds intellectual property rights IL28B patent with Labcorp.


Polymorphism in the interleukin-28B (IL28B) gene region, encoding interferon (IFN)-λ3, is strongly predictive of response to antiviral treatment in the nontransplant setting. We sought to determine the prevalence and impact on clinical outcomes of donor and recipient IL28B genotypes among liver transplant recipients. The cohort study included 189 consecutive patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) who underwent liver transplantation between January 1, 1995, and January 1, 2005, at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. Genotyping of the polymorphism rs12979860 was performed on DNA collected from all donors and recipients in the cohort. Sixty-five patients received IFN-based antiviral therapy. The CC IL28B variant was less common in the chronic HCV-infected recipients than in non-HCV donor livers (33% versus 47%, P = 0.03). IL28B recipient genotype was significantly predictive of fibrosis stage, with TT genotype being associated with more rapid fibrosis (Pearson chi-square P = 0.024 for the comparison G versus A). Donor and recipient IL28B genotype were independently associated with sustained virologic response (P < 0.005). The presence of IL28B CC variant in either the recipient (R) or donor (D) liver was associated with increased rate of sustained virologic response (D-non-CC/R-non-CC = 3/19 [16%] versus D-CC/R-non-CC = 11/22 [50%] versus D-non-CC/R-CC = 5/12 [42%] versus R-CC/D-CC = 6/7 [86%], P = 0.0095). IL28B genotype was not significantly associated with survival (overall/liver-related). Conclusion: Recipient IL28B TT genotype is associated with more severe histological recurrence of HCV. Recipient and donor liver IL28B genotype are strongly and independently associated with IFN-based treatment response in patients after orthotopic liver transplantation. The data suggest that CC donor livers might be preferentially allocated to patients with HCV infection. (Hepatology 2011;)