Recent studies have indicated that amino acid (aa) substitutions in the core region and NS5A interferon sensitivity-determining region (ISDR) of hepatitis C virus (HCV) as well as genetic polymorphisms in the interleukin-28B (IL-28B) locus affect the outcome of interferon (IFN)-based therapies. We aimed to investigate the role of these factors on response to peginterferon plus ribavirin in a prospective study of response-guided therapy. The aa sequences in core region and ISDR and rs12979860 genotypes were analysed in 115 HCV-1 patients. The treatment was 24 weeks for patients achieving a rapid virological response (RVR), 48 weeks for those with an early virological response (EVR) and early terminated in those without an EVR. A sustained virological response (SVR) was achieved in 82% of 34 RVR patients, 45% of 74 EVR patients and 0% of seven non-EVR patients. Logistic regression analysis showed that ISDR mutation (≥2) [odds ratio(OR): 6.024], double core 70/91 mutations (OR: 0.136), and platelet counts ≥ 15 × 104/μL (OR: 3.119) were independent pretreatment factors associated with SVR. Apart from rs12979860 CC genotype, low viral load and ISDR mutation (≥2) were significant factors predictive of RVR. Combination of rs12979860 genotype and baseline viral characteristics (viral load and core/ISDR mutations) could predict RVR and SVR with positive predictive value of 100% and 91%, and negative predictive value of 80% and 54%, respectively. In conclusion, pretreatment screening rs12979860 genotype and aa substitutions in the core region and ISDR could help identifying patients who are good candidates for peginterferon plus ribavirin therapy.