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Abstract

Vitamin D deficiency seems to predict the unsuccessful achievement of sustained viral response (SVR) after antiviral treatment in hepatitis C virus (HCV) difficult-to-treat genotypes. Vitamin D binding protein (GC) gene polymorphisms are known to influence vitamin D levels. This study was performed to assess whether the interaction between basal circulating vitamin D and the GC polymorphism plays a role in influencing the rate of antiviral responses in patients affected by chronic hepatitis C. In all, 206 HCV patients treated with a combination therapy of pegylated (PEG)-interferon plus ribavirin were retrospectively evaluated. GC rs7041 G>T, GC rs4588 C>A, and IL-28B rs12979860 C>T polymorphisms were genotyped. Frequencies of GC rs7041 G>T and rs4588 C>A polymorphisms were: G/G = 64 (31.1%), G/T = 100 (48.5%), T/T = 42 (20.4%) and C/C = 108 (52.4%), C/A = 84 (40.8%), A/A = 14 (6.8%). Patients were divided into those carrying ≥3 major alleles (wildtype [WT]+: G-C/G-C, G-C/T-C, G-C/G-A, N = 100) and the remaining (WT−: G-C/T-A, T-A/T-C, T-A/T-A, T-C/T-C, N = 106). Four groups were identified: vitamin D ≤20 ng/mL and WT−, vitamin D ≤20 and WT+, vitamin D >20 and WT−, vitamin D >20 and WT+. In difficult-to-treat HCV genotypes the proportion of patients achieving SVR significantly increased with a linear trend from the first to the last group: 6/25 (24.0%), 9/24 (37.5%), 12/29 (41.4%), 19/29 (65.5%) (P = 0.003). At multivariate analysis, having basal vitamin D >20 ng/mL plus the carriage of GC WT+ was found to be an independent predictor of SVR (odds ratio 4.52, P = 0.015). Conclusion: In difficult-to-treat HCV genotypes, simultaneous pretreatment normal serum vitamin D levels and the carriage of GC-globulin WT isoform strongly predicts the achievement of SVR after PEG-interferon plus ribavirin antiviral therapy. (HEPATOLOGY 2012;56:1641–1650)