Aim: We estimated viral dynamics after serum hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA became negative and assessed the relation between the estimated viral load at the end of treatment (EVE) index and the response to the combination therapy with peginterferon α-2b plus ribavirin.
Methods: Patients with chronic HCV, genotype 1b, and a high viral load were treated with this combination therapy for 48 weeks, and serum HCV RNA was measured frequently during the treatment period. In the patients showing an end-of-treatment response (ETR), the viral load profile from the start of treatment until serum HCV RNA became negative was expressed by an approximate curve. Then the EVE index was calculated by using the expression obtained from the curve, and differences between the sustained virologic response (SVR) and relapse groups were investigated. Results: The SVR rate increased as the EVE index became lower, and the EVE index was significantly lower in the SVR group than in the relapse group. The SVR rate was higher for those in whom the EVE index was below the cut-off point.
Conclusion: Prediction of SVR and relapse from the EVE index is more useful than prediction from viral dynamics at the time when HCV RNA becomes negative or when HCV RNA shows a decrease of 2-log or more.