Background & Aims
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 4 (G4) infection is common in the Middle East. Post-treatment long-term outcomes have not been reported in these patients. This study evaluates these outcomes in patients after interferon-based therapy.
Patients and methods
A total of 157 patients were followed from June 2001 to February 2012. Descriptive and analytical statistics, cumulative outcomes and the independent predictors of disease progression were calculated.
The overall age was 48.0 ± 11.8 years, 75 (47.8%) were males and 53 (70.7%) of 75 who were genotyped had G4. The follow-up period was 63.8 ± 32.8 months. Sustained virological response (SVR) was achieved in 62 (39.5%) and 24 (45.3%) patients in the whole group and the G4 subgroup respectively. Among the whole cohort and the G4 subgroup, disease progressed in 59 (37.6%) and 21 (39.6%), respectively, with less progression in the SVR groups; 15/62 (24.2%) and 3/24 (12.5%) compared with non-responders; 44 (46.3%) and 18 (62.1%) with P = 0.01 and 0.001 respectively. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that having diabetes mellitus (P = 0.03), higher baseline APRI score (P = 0.00) and non-SVR (P = 0.00) were independent predictors of disease progression. G4 patients showed similar results, but ‘non-SVR’ (P = 0.00) was the only independent predictor of progression. Eight patients died and four developed HCC all among the non-SVR group only.
This study describes, for the first time, the natural history and demonstrates the beneficial long-term effects of interferon-based therapy in HCV G4 patients.