Background and Aim: Individualized treatment with a combination of peg-interferon and ribavirin for patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been validated in randomized controlled clinical trials, but its usefulness in the real world is unknown. The aim of the present study was to assess the feasibility of individualized treatment for HCV patients compared with standard therapy in a real-life clinical setting.
Methods: A total of 253 naïve patients with HCV infection who received peg-interferon and ribavirin combination treatment were analyzed and grouped into one of three clinical settings: (i) infection with genotype non-1 (HCV non-1) and treatment for standard 24 weeks (n = 105; none received an abbreviated therapy); (ii) genotype 1 (HCV-1) and standard therapy for either 24 weeks (n = 71) or 48 weeks (n = 21); and (iii) HCV-1 and individualized treatment (n = 56). The individualized therapy used was an abbreviated 24-week treatment for HCV-1 patients who achieved a rapid virological response, otherwise patients received a 48-week course of treatment. Early termination of treatment at week 16 was recommended for non-responders.
Results: A sustained virological response (SVR) was achieved in 83.8% of patients with HCV non-1 infection. Among the HCV-1-infected patients, 53.5% of patients who underwent standard 24-week treatment, 66.7% of patients who underwent standard 48-week treatment, and 64.3% of patients treated by individualized therapy achieved SVR. Patients infected with HCV-1 and treated by individualized therapy had a similar efficacy response compared with the standard 48-week therapy (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 0.765, 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.220–2.659, P = 0.673). Both individualized therapy (adjusted OR 2.855, 95% CI 1.189–6.855, P = 0.019) or standard 48-week treatment (adjusted OR 3.733, 95% CI 1.073–12.986, P = 0.038) had significantly higher odds of SVR compared with HCV-1 patients treated by standard 24-week course.
Conclusion: Individualized therapy is feasible in the real world, especially for patients with HCV-1 infection.