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Baseline cholesterol is associated with the response to antiviral therapy in chronic hepatitis C


Dr Michael Economou, First Department of Internal Medicine and Hepato-Gastroenterology Unit, School of Medicine, University of Ioannina, 1 Panepistimiou Street, 451 10 Ioannina, Greece. Email:


Background:  Hepatitis C virus (HCV) partially interacts with low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptors, suggesting a role for lipids in regulating HCV clearance. Our aim was to study if baseline lipids can discriminate responders from non-responders among patients with HCV infection.

Methods:  A total of 109 HCV patients were studied. Laboratory measurements included serum lipids, aminotransferases and viral load, as well as HCV genotype determinations.

Results:  Responders (n = 53) had significantly higher serum baseline levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B compared to non-responders (n = 56). Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that a 10 mg/dL increase in total cholesterol was associated with 3.02 higher odds of responding to treatment (95% CI 1.74–5.32, P < 0.001), while a 10 mg/dL increase in apolipoprotein B levels was associated with 1.81 higher odds of responding to treatment (95% CI 1.37–2.54, P < 0.001), after adjustment for age, sex, body mass index (BMI), smoking habits, baseline viral load, liver histology and administration of pegylated interferon. An inverse association between BMI and response to treatment was also evident (adjusted odds ratio 0.73, 95% CI 0.55–0.96; P = 0.03).

Conclusion:  Baseline serum total cholesterol levels and BMI could be helpful in discriminating responders to antiviral therapy among patients with HCV infection.