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J Clin Virol. 2012 Mar;53(3):231-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jcv.2011.12.005. Epub 2012 Jan 4.

Hepatitis C virus viral kinetics during α-2a or α-2b pegylated interferon plus ribavirin therapy in liver transplant recipients with different immunosuppression regimes.

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  • 1Hepatology-Liver Transplantation Unit, Digestive Medicine Service, Hospital Universitari La Fe, Spain.



Predictors of sustained virological response (SVR) to antiviral therapy post-liver transplantation (LT) for chronic hepatitis C are needed. In non-transplanted patients, viral kinetics can predict SVR.


To determine the early viral kinetics in LT recipients with different immunosuppression (tacrolimus - Tac- vs. cyclosporine - CsA-) during treatment with peg-IFN+RBV.


Prospective pilot study in HCV-1b infected patients: (LT CsA n=8; Tac n=8; non-LT n=4), treated with IFN α-2a vs. α-2b (180 μg or 1.5 μg/kg, respectively) once weekly plus weight-based RBV. Median CsA or Tac baseline trough levels were 141 and 7.70 ng/mL, respectively. HCV-RNA was quantified before treatment and after 3, 6, 12h; days 1-6; and weeks 4, 12, 24, 48 and 78 (follow-up).


Different kinetics were observed: early viral load declines with shoulder phase (n=12), delayed monophasic without first phase (n=5, all CsA), and biphasic (n=1) or flat (n=1), without influence of IL28B rs12979860 donor/recipient alleles. In LT, median declines (log(10)UI/mL) at week 4 were -3.62 and -1.49 for Tac vs. CsA; and -2.10 vs.-1.50 for IFN α-2a vs. α-2b (NS), with a trend for faster declines in Tac patients. Generalized additive models suggested a cut-off for predicting response in LT patients of 30 days for Tac, but beyond day 40 for CsA.


In LT, the viral kinetics during peg-IFN+RBV treatment is delayed. HCV-RNA at 48 h. may not be predictive of response, and CsA-immunosupressed patients with delayed monophasic declines may potentially achieve ETVR and SVR despite unfavourable or absent early viral load declines.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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