Histological Benefit of Retreatment by Pegylated Interferon Alfa-2b and Ribavirin in Patients with Recurrent Hepatitis C Virus Infection Posttransplantation


* Corresponding author: Thierry Bizollon, thierry.bizollon@chu-lyon.fr


We conducted a study to evaluate the efficacy of pegylated interferon/ribavirin in patients who did not respond to previous posttransplant recurrent HCV treatment with IFN/ribavirin combination. Twenty-seven patients were consecutively included in this study and retreated with pegylated interferon alfa-2b (1.5 μg/kg/week) with ribavirin (800–1000 mg daily) for 48 weeks for genotype 1 and 4 and 24 weeks for other genotypes. We compared them with 21 untreated patients enrolled during the same period. Primary endpoint was the SVR and secondary endpoint was histological evaluation 24 weeks after ending therapy. Twenty-seven patients started therapy but 2 (7%) stopped because of side effects. On an intent-to-treat basis, eight patients (30%) had an SVR. Cyclosporine as immunosuppressive therapy during antiviral therapy (p = 0.03) and EVR (p = 0.02) were significantly associated with viral clearance. In 46 patients in whom paired graft biopsies were available, fibrosis score was improved in 76% of treated patients versus 5% in untreated patients. Among treated patients, improvement of fibrosis was not correlated to SVR. Our data show that 30% of patients who have failed prior posttransplantation treatment achieved an SVR when retreated with pegylated interferon alfa-2b/ribavirin. More interesting is that fibrosis score was improved in 65% of treated patients despite failure of HCV eradication.