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Summary

Background

Recent studies suggested that IL28B polymorphisms may affect rapid and sustained virological response rates in HCV patients infected with genotype 2 or 3.

Aim

To assess the role of IL28B polymorphisms on the virological response in HCV-2 and -3 patients.

Methods

We performed meta-analysis of studies evaluating the impact of rs12979860 and rs8099917 polymorphisms on rapid and sustained virological response in HCV-2 or -3 patients.

Results

Twenty-three studies involving 3042 patients were included. The first meta-analysis evaluated the impact of rs12979860 polymorphism and included 1963 patients. When compared with rs12979860 CT/TT patients, CC patients had a higher rapid virological response rate (mean difference: 12.9%, 95% CI: 6.5–19.4%, P < 0.001) and a higher sustained virological response rate (mean difference: 4.9%, 95% CI: 0.1–9.8%, P = 0.046). The second meta-analysis evaluated the impact of rs8099917 polymorphism and included 2246 patients. When compared with rs8099917 TG/GG patients, TT patients had a higher rapid virological response rate (mean difference: 14.8%, 95% CI: 7.2–22.4%, P < 0.001) and a higher sustained virological response rate (mean difference: 5.5%, 95% CI: 0.4–10.6%, P = 0.033). When considering only patients treated for 24 weeks, results were unchanged. No potential sources of between-study heterogeneity were identified.

Conclusions

Favourable IL28B polymorphisms are associated with higher rapid and sustained virological response rates in HCV-2 and -3 patients. However, as the impact on a sustained response is very limited, it is unlikely that IL28B polymorphisms provide additional predictive value when considering other predictors of a sustained response.