Suppressor of cytokine signal 3 and IL28 genetic variation predict the viral response to peginterferon and ribavirin


Dr Hisamitsu Miyaaki, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Nagasaki University School of Medicine, 1-7-1 Sakamoto, Nagasaki 852-8501, Japan. Email:


Aim:  The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship among the expression of suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS 3) in the liver, the SNPs in the IL28B locus, and the outcome of interferon therapy.

Methods:  Prior to interferon treatment, we immunostained 67 liver specimens from chronic hepatitis C (CHC) patients who were receiving peginterferon alpha-2b/ribavirin therapy for suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3), and compared the expression of SOCS3, IL28 polymorphisms and other clinical factors between the patients and compared their eventual outcomes.

Results:  Significant differences between the low SOCS3 group and high SOCS3 group were found in age, as well as in the platelet, transaminase, gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase levels. The incidence of high SOCS3 was not significantly different between subjects with the TT genotype and the TG genotype (TT : TG = 71%:29%, P = 0.250). In a multivariate analysis, age (≥65 years old) (odds ratio 0.221 [0.120–0.966], P = 0.045), IL28B gene (genotype TT) (odds ratio 5.422 [1.254–23.617], P = 0.024) and SOCS3 (high) (odds ratio 0.308 [0.104–0.948], P = 0.040) were significant predictors of the interferon response. In patients with the TT genotype, those with low SOCS3 immunostaining showed a high sustained virological response (69%), while the sustained virological rate was low (27%) in the patients with high SOCS3 immunostaining.

Conclusions:  Using a combination of the SOCS3 immunostained area in the liver and the expression of IL28B single nucleotide polymorphisms might be a useful predictor of hepatitis C virus clearance by interferon therapy.