Differences in liver fibrosis and response to pegylated interferon plus ribavirin in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients with normal vs elevated liver enzymes.J Viral Hepat. 2010 Dec; 17(12):866-71.JV
Severity of liver fibrosis and response to pegylated interferon plus ribavirin (pegIFN-RBV) are not well known in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients with persistently normal alanine aminotransferase (PNALT). All HIV/HCV-coinfected patients who had been assessed for liver fibrosis using elastometry during 2005 at our clinic were evaluated. Those with at least 1 year with three prior consecutive ALT measurements below the upper limit of normality were compared with patients with elevated ALT. Response to pegIFN-RBV was assessed in a subset of these patients. We analysed 87 patients with PNALT and 122 with elevated ALT. Compared to patients with elevated ALT, those with PNALT were significantly more often women (42%vs 26%), had greater mean CD4 counts (565 vs 420 cells/mm³), had lower mean serum HCV-RNA (5.8 vs 6.2 log IU/ml) and were infected by HCV genotype 4 (33%vs 6%). Liver fibrosis was considered as severe (Metavir F3) in 10% of patients with PNALT, and another 4% had cirrhosis based on stiffness values. These numbers were 16% and 35% in patients with elevated ALT. Treatment with pegIFN-RBV was given to 22 and 45 patients with PNALT and elevated ALT, respectively. Sustained virological response was achieved in 50% and 29% of them. In the multivariate analysis, PNALT was independently associated with response (OR: 7.9; 95% CI: 1.4-45.2; P = 0.02). Nearly 15% of HIV/HCV-coinfected patients with PNALT showed advanced liver fibrosis (Metavir F3-F4 estimates by elastometry). In summary, response to pegIFN-RBV is higher in patients with PNALT than in those with elevated ALT. Therefore, treatment should not be denied in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients with PNALT.