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Gastroenterology. 1993 May;104(5):1472-7.

Hepatitis C RNA in liver of chronic hepatitis C patients before and after interferon alfa treatment.

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  • 1Division of Gastroenterology, Ochsner Medical Institutions, New Orleans, Louisiana.



Successful treatment of chronic hepatitis C with interferon alfa is frequently followed by relapse. Because loss of hepatitis C viral RNA (HCV-RNA) in serum is not predictive of sustained response, the loss of HCV-RNA in liver as a predictor of sustained response was investigated.


Twenty-one patients with chronic hepatitis C treated with recombinant interferon alpha had HCV-RNA sequences determined in frozen liver tissue before and after treatment and in serum at the end of treatment. Reverse double polymerase chain reaction was used to detect sequences to the 5' nontranslated region of the HCV genome using double nested primers.


HCV-RNA disappeared in the liver in 10 of 11 (91%) complete responders whereas it remained detectable in the liver or serum of 7 of 8 (87%) nonresponders. Five complete responders relapsed biochemically during 6 month's follow-up; 4 of these had no detectable HCV-RNA in liver at end of treatment.


Disappearance of HCV-RNA in liver correlates with initial clinical outcome, but as previously reported with serum HCV-RNA, this loss does not necessarily allow prediction of a sustained response.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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