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Hepatogastroenterology. 1999 Mar-Apr;46(26):1094-9.

Interferon treatment in patients with chronic hepatitis C with normal alanine-aminotransferase activity.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Tokyo National Hospital, Japan.

Abstract

BACKGROUND/AIMS:

Chronic hepatitis C virus carriers may have repeatedly normal alanine aminotransferase activity despite detectable viremia and histological hepatitis. We aimed to evaluate the effect of interferon treatment in these cases.

METHODOLOGY:

Twelve patients with persistently normal alanine aminotransferase levels at least 6 months before therapy were treated with recombinant interferon (IFN)alpha-2b for 6 months, totaling 840 MU in amount. Alanine aminotransferase levels were measured monthly during treatment and after treatment withdrawal, and HCV-RNA levels were measured by polymerase chain reaction before treatment, and 6 and 12 months after treatment withdrawal.

RESULTS:

At treatment withdrawal, HCV-RNA levels had significantly decreased and HCV-RNA disappeared in 9 of the 12 patients by polymerase chain reaction. At 6 months after treatment withdrawal, HCV-RNA reappeared in 6 of the 9 patients whose HCV-RNA was negative at treatment withdrawal. Over all, only 4 of the 12 patients (33%) were sustained virological responders (HCV-RNA is negative more than 6 months after treatment withdrawal). Pre-treatment HCV-RNA levels in a sustained virological responder was significantly lower than that of transient and non-responders (4.9 +/- 1.6 vs. 7.7 +/- 1.6 log10[copies/ml], p < 0.05). Of 8 patients who did not achieved sustained virological response, alanine aminotransferase levels had transiently increased above normal during treatment in one patient and after treatment withdrawal in 6 patients; however, in the remaining one patient abnormal values have continued from 8 months after treatment withdrawal till now for 24 months.

CONCLUSIONS:

In patients with chronic hepatitis C with normal alanine aminotransferase levels, the response to interferon therapy was by no means satisfactory. However, if it would be used in cases with the lower pre-treatment HCV-RNA levels with careful attention to a transient alanine aminotransferase elevation, the more a sustained virological response might be expected.

PMID:
10370673
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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