Evaluation of prognostic factors for Peg Interferon alfa-2b plus ribavirin treatment on HCV infected patients in Pakistan.Infect Genet Evol. 2011 Apr; 11(3):640-5.IG
The effective standard therapeutic regimen for patients with chronic hepatitis C is pegylated interferon plus ribavirin. The efficacy of treatment in chronic hepatitis C is defined as absence of detectable virus at six months after treatment. Analysis of patient dependent and virus related factors that enable us to predict the response to antiviral treatment is very important. We prospectively studied 403 patients who received PEG-IFN alpha-2b 1.5 μg/kg/body weight plus ribavirin. Treatment was administrated for 24 weeks and 48 weeks for hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes 3 and 1, respectively. Out of 403 treated patients, 301 patients (74.7%) showed a sustained virologic response (SVR). Seven variables (age, sex, ethnic group, pretreatment viral load, HCV genotyping and pretreatment ALT) were chosen as possible predictors of SVR and were analysed by means of univariable and multivariable logistic regression analysis. Five variables were statistically significant (p<0.005) on univariable analysis: age, ethnic group, pretreatment viral load, response rate at week 4, and HCV genotype. In multivariable analysis independent factors associated with SVR were low pretreatment viral load (1.97; 95%CI, 1.06-3.66; p=0.03) and attainment of rapid virological response (RVR) (7.19; 95%CI, 4.15-12.45; p<0.001). Our findings support the association between viral load and SVR to PEG-IFN-alpha-2b plus ribavirin therapy. No achievement of RVR is an unfavorable marker for SVR. These findings suggest that all patients considered for treatment should have quantification of serum HCV RNA levels. The result can be used to counsel patients on the likelihood of achieving SVR and may influence the patient's decision on treatment. Future studies should confirm and explore this observation in other ethnic groups and in relation to HCV genotypes 1 and 3.