Predictors of viral kinetics to peginterferon plus ribavirin combination therapy in Japanese patients infected with hepatitis C virus genotype 1b



For chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, evaluation of response to peginterferon (PEG-IFN) plus ribavirin (RBV) therapy based on viral kinetics is useful as an early predictor of treatment efficacy, but the underlying mechanisms of the different viral kinetics to treatment are still unclear. The response to 48-week PEG-IFN-RBV combination therapy was evaluated in 160 Japanese adult patients infected with HCV genotype 1b and determined the rapid virological response (at 4 weeks), early virological response (at 12 weeks), end-of treatment response, and sustained virological response (6 months after end of treatment). The proportion of patients who showed rapid, early and sustained virological, and end-of treatment responses were 50%, 73%, 47%, and 71%, respectively. Furthermore, 66% of patients who achieved early virological response also showed sustained virological response. Multivariate analysis identified substitutions of amino acid (aa) 70 and 91 in the HCV core region (double-wild-type) as a predictor of early HCV-RNA negativity, rapid, early, and sustained virological responses and end-of treatment response, and lipid metabolic factors (high levels of LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol) as predictors of early and rapid virological responses and end-of treatment response. Male sex and low levels of alpha-fetoprotein were other predictors of sustained virological response. Furthermore, female sex and severity of liver fibrosis were determinants of lack of sustained virological response in spite of early virological response. This study identified predictors of efficacy of PEG-IFN-RBV therapy based on viral kinetics in Japanese patients infected with HCV genotype 1b. J. Med. Virol. 79:1686–1695, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.