Long-term clearance of hepatitis C virus following interferon α-2b or peginterferon α-2b, alone or in combination with ribavirin

Authors


Correspondence: Michael P. Manns, MD, Professor and Chairman, Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endocrinology, Medical School of Hannover, Carl-Neuberg Str. 1, 30625 Hannover, Germany. E-mail: manns.michael@mh-hannover.de

Summary

Sustained virologic response (SVR) is the standard measure for evaluating response to therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC). The aim of this study was to prospectively assess the durability of SVR in the pivotal studies of peginterferon (PEG-IFN) α-2b or IFN α-2b. We conducted two phase 3b long-term follow-up studies of patients previously treated for CHC in eight prospective randomized studies of IFN α-2b and/or PEG-IFN α-2b. Patients who achieved SVR [undetectable hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA 24 weeks after completion of treatment] were eligible for inclusion in these follow-up studies. In total, 636 patients with SVR following treatment with IFN α-2b and 366 with SVR following treatment with PEG-IFN α-2b were enrolled. Definite relapse (quantifiable serum HCV RNA with no subsequent undetectable HCV RNA) was reported in six patients treated with IFN α-2b and three patients treated with PEG-IFN α-2b. Based on these relapses, the point estimate for the likelihood of maintaining response after 5 years was 99.2% [95% confidence interval (CI), 98.1–99.7%] for IFN α-2b and 99.4% (95% CI, 97.7–99.9%) for PEG-IFN α-2b. Successful treatment of hepatitis C with PEG-IFN α-2b or IFN α-2b leads to clinical cure of hepatitis C in the vast majority of cases.

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