Viral, host and interferon-related factors modulating the effect of interferon therapy for hepatitis C virus infection


  • Ke-Qin Hu,

    1. Department of Medicine and Transplantation Institute, Loma Linda University Medical Canter and Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Veterans’ Affairs Medical Center, Loma Linda, CA, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • John M. Vierling,

    1. Center for Liver Diseases and Transplantation, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, UCLA, Los Angeles CA, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Allan G. Redeker

    1. Division of Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases, University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, USA
    Search for more papers by this author

Ke-QinHuDr Transplantation Institute, Loma Linda University Medical Center, 11234 Anderson Street, Room 1405, Loma Linda, CA 92354, USA.


The estimated prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection in the US is approximately 1.8%. Although interferon monotherapy and combination therapy of interferon with ribavirin represent mainstay for treating HCV infection, the rate of sustained virologic response remains suboptimal. The growing evidence suggested that the clinical sequence and treatment response of chronic hepatitis C are determined by a dynamic, complex tripartite relationship among HCV infection, the host immune response, and the effect of different interferon regimens. The treatment response is associated with various viral factors including the pretreatment viral level, dynamic change of viral level during treatment, viral genotype quasispecies and nucleotide mutation in nonstructural protein 5A of hepatitis C virus. Host factors that may affect treatment response include age, gender, race, HLA alleles and the host immune responses. Interferon regimens, including type, dose, frequency and duration of treatment and combination of interferon with other anti-HCV agents also alter the therapeutic response. Understanding these complicated interaction may provide better insights into the mechanism(s) of interferon response, leading to more effective clinical application of interferon therapy.