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Keywords:

  • chronic hepatitis C;
  • pegylated interferon;
  • ribavirin;
  • vitamin D

Summary

Chronic HCV–infected patients tend to have vitamin D deficiency, suggesting that vitamin D supplementation may enhance the efficacy of treatment with pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) and ribavirin (RBV). We therefore assessed the effects of vitamin D supplementation on viral response to PEG-IFN/RBV. Eighty-four patients with HCV genotype 1b were randomized, 42 to oral vitamin D supplementation (1000 IU/day) and 42 to nonsupplementation (control), from week 8 to the end of PEG-IFN/RBV therapy. The primary end point was undetectable HCV RNA at week 24 (viral response [VR]). VR rate at week 24 was significantly higher in the vitamin D than in the control group (78.6% vs 54.8% P = 0.037). Adverse events were similar in both groups. When patients were subdivided by IL28B SNP rs8099917 genotype, those with the TT genotype group showed a significantly higher VR rate at week 24 with than without vitamin D supplementation (86.2% vs 63.3% vs P = 0.044). Although patients with the TG/GG genotype, who were relatively resistant to PEG-IFN treatment, had similar VR rates at week 24 with and without vitamin D supplementation, the decline in viral load from week 8 to week 24 was significantly greater with than without vitamin D supplementation. Multivariate analysis showed that rs8099917 genotype and vitamin D supplementation contributed significantly to VR at week 24. SVR rates were similar in the vitamin D and control groups [64.3% (27/42) vs 50% (21/42), P = 0.19]. Vitamin D supplementation may enhance the effects of PEG-IFN/RBV in HCV genotype 1b–infected patients.