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Keywords:

  • IL-28B;
  • mother-to-child transmission;
  • pegylated interferon;
  • predictive factor;
  • ribavirin;
  • rs8099917

Aim

The relation between interleukin-28B (IL-28B) genotypes and treatment-induced hepatitis C virus (HCV) clearance in children is unknown. This was a retrospective study to evaluate the association between an IL-28B genotype (rs8099917) and pegylated (PEG) interferon (IFN) response.

Methods

Sixty-three children (median age, 7 years; range, 3–17 years; 22 with HCV genotype 1 and 41 with genotype non-1) with chronic HCV infection who were treated with response-guided PEG IFN on the basis of viral load were evaluated.

Results

The duration of treatment with PEG IFN was 24 weeks in one child (2%), 36 weeks in eight children (13%), 48 weeks in 36 children (57%), 60 weeks in 11 children (17%) and 72 weeks in seven children (11%). Of the total 63 children, 54 (86%) were initially treated with PEG IFN-α-2a monotherapy. The remaining nine (14%) received PEG IFN plus ribavirin as the initial therapy. Of the 54 children initially treated with monotherapy, 35 (65%) continued receiving monotherapy until the end of treatment. In the remaining 19 (35%), monotherapy was changed to PEG IFN plus ribavirin at 12 or 24 weeks of treatment. Of the total 63 children, 54 (86%) achieved a sustained virological response (SVR). In univariate analysis, rs8099917 genotype TT (P = 0.075) showed a weak association with SVR. However, the multivariate analysis revealed no predictive factors which had a significant association with SVR.

Conclusion

The IL-28B genotype was not a strong pretreatment predictor for SVR in a mixed genotype cohort of children treated with response-guided PEG IFN therapy.