The role of genetic markers in hepatitis C virus therapy: a major step for individualized care


John G. McHutchison, MD, 333 Lakeside Blvd, Foster City, CA, USA
Tel: +1 650-522-5302
Fax: +1 650-522-1975


It has been understood for some time that the treatment outcome of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is influenced by host genetic factors. Three independent genome-wide association studies have recently identified that a genetic variation in the IL28B gene [interferon-λ3 (IFN-λ3)] determines the outcome of IFN-α-based therapy in patients with genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C infection. This genetic polymorphism is also strongly associated with a higher likelihood of spontaneous clearance following acute hepatitis C infection. These results confirm the importance of specific host genetic markers in predicting outcome and treatment response. They also provide the framework and potential for a clinically relevant and meaningful pharmacogenomic approach to personalizing anti-HCV treatment.