Recombinant interferon-α-2a for treatment of chronic hepatitis C: results of a multicenter randomized controlled dose study

Authors


Second Department of Internal Medicine, Osaka University Medical School, 2–2 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka 565, Japan

Abstract

Abstract: To compare the efficacy of low and relatively high dosages of recombinant interferon (IFN)-α-2a in Japanese patients with chronic hepatitis C, as well as to characterize the type of patients who will respond well to a low-dosage treatment, 88 patients with histologically proven chronic hepatitis C were randomly assigned to two treatment groups; one treated with IFN-α-2a 6 MU daily for 2 weeks followed by 6 MU three times weekly for 22 weeks (6-MU group), and another given the same initial treatment followed by 3 MU three times weekly for 22 weeks (3-MU group). The rate of sustained normalization of ALT 6 months after the cessation of treatment was 33% in the 3-MU group and 40% in the 6-MU group (p=0.64). In addition, there was no difference in elimination of serum HCV-RNA 6 months after the cessation of treatment between the 3-MU group (26%) and 6-MU group (29%). Multivariate stepwise regression analysis revealed that serum HCV-RNA level (p=0.0035) and platelet count (p=0.0009) were independent variables useful in predicting a sustained response of ALT. The sustained response rate of ALT in patients with a serum HCV-RNA level less than 105 copies/ml and serum platelet level above 15×104/μl was 71%, whereas that in patients with a serum HCV-RNA level above 105 copies/ml and serum platelet level less than 15×104/μl was 12%. These results indicate that a high rate of sustained response to IFN therapy can be expected in chronic hepatitis C patients with a low serum level of HCV-RNA and a high level of platelets, even if treated with a low dose of IFN.

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