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Keywords:

  • China;
  • genotype;
  • hepatitis C;
  • treatment outcome

Summary.  The optimal duration of treatment and expected response rate for hepatitis C virus genotype (HCV-6)-infected patients have not been determined. Our aims were to determine the treatment outcome with pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) plus ribavirin for HCV-6a-infected patients at Southwest Hospital and assess the association of the on-treatment virological response with the sustained virological response (SVR). Medical records were reviewed retrospectively. Twenty-two HCV-6a-infected patients were treated for 24 weeks, and 21 (95.5%) achieved an early virological response (EVR), 20 (90.9%) an end-of-treatment response (ETR) and 18 (81.8%) a SVR. However, only 18 of the 22 HCV-6a-infected patients were tested for serum HCV RNA level at week 4 of treatment and 15 (83.3%) achieved a rapid virological response (RVR). The rates of SVR, RVR, EVR and ETR in these patients were all similar to those in HCV-2/3 treated for 24 weeks and higher than those in HCV-1b-infected patients treated for 48 weeks. A lower relapse rate (10.0%) was seen in HCV-6a compared with HCV-2/3 (12.5%) or HCV-1b-infected patients (23.3%). The positive predictive values of RVR and EVR for HCV-6a were comparable with those for HCV-2/3-infected patients (86.7%vs 90.9%, = 0.683 and 85.7%vs 86.8%, = 0.904, respectively). Of the 3 HCV-6a-infected patients who did not achieve a RVR, 2 achieved an EVR and went on to achieve a SVR. The patient who did not achieve an EVR did not achieve a SVR. In summary, our results indicate that 24 weeks of PEG-IFN plus ribavirin can effectively treat patients with HCV-6a chronic infection.