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Keywords:

  • HCV;
  • ultra-deep sequence;
  • telaprevir;
  • resistant variants;
  • non-response

Abstract

Using ultra-deep sequencing technology, the present was designed to investigate whether the emergence of telaprevir-resistant variants (amino acid substitutions of aa36, aa54, aa155, aa156, and aa170 positions in HCV NS3 region) after commencement of triple therapy of telaprevir/peginterferon (PEG-IFN)/ribavirin could be predicted at baseline in previous non-responders to dual therapy. Fourteen patients infected with HCV genotype 1 who did not respond to previous PEG-IFN/ribavirin, received a 24-week regimen of triple therapy, and were evaluated for appearance of telaprevir-resistant variants (amino acid substitutions of more than 0.2% among the total coverage) by ultra-deep sequencing. The sustained virological response rate was 28.6% (4 of 14 patients), which was significantly higher in patients with Arg70 (substitution at core aa70) and partial response (type of previous response to PEG-IFN/ribavirin) than in other patients. Telaprevir-resistant variants at baseline were detected in 7.1% (1 of 14 patients) by direct sequencing and in 21.4% (3 of 14 patients) by ultra-deep sequencing. The appearance of telaprevir-resistant variants was examined by ultra-deep sequencing in 10 who did not show sustained virological responders. De novo variants emerged at re-elevation of viral load, regardless of variant frequencies at baseline (one patient with very high frequency variants [T54S: 99.9%], two patients with very low frequency variants [V36A: 0.2%; and V170A: 0.4%], and seven patients of undetectable variants). It is concluded that it is difficult to predict at baseline the emergence of telaprevir-resistant variants after commencement of triple therapy in prior non-responders of HCV genotype 1, even with the use of ultra-deep sequencing. J. Med. Virol. 85: 1028–1036, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.