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Keywords:

  • IL28B;
  • interferon treatment;
  • liver transplantation;
  • virological response;
  • waiting list

IL28B gene polymorphisms are associated with the response to antiviral therapy in hepatitis C patients. We investigated the influence of IL28B polymorphisms on the response to therapy before and after liver transplantation (LT). Genotyping of SNPs rs8099917 and rs12979860 was performed in 128 HCV-infected liver transplant recipients and in their donors; all patients underwent antiviral treatment after LT. The prevalence of genotypes rs12979860CC and rs8099917TT was higher in donors than in recipients (50% vs.19%, p < 0.001 and 67% vs. 38%, p < 0.001, respectively). Response to antiviral therapy was significantly higher for recipient genotype rs12979860CC as compared to rs12979860CT/TT both before (100% vs. 48% p = 0.013) and after LT (59% vs. 25% p = 0.002). The figures were almost identical for SNP rs8099917. Sustained virological response after LT was particularly high in patients with favorable recipient and donor genotypes (p < 0.01 for both SNPs). In a subgroup of 34 patients treated while awaiting LT, a favorable donor IL28B genotype was associated with an improved virological response after LT. Our results support a major role of recipient IL28B genotype in the response to antiviral treatment for hepatitis C recurrence. Interestingly, donor genotype also seems to influence the response pattern, especially in recipients who have a favorable IL28B genotype.