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Scand J Infect Dis. 1999;31(1):27-32.

Mutations in the NS5A gene predict response to interferon therapy in Japanese patients with chronic hepatitis C and cirrhosis.

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Kurume University Research Center for Innovative Cancer Therapy, Japan.


The virus genotype, serum HCV-RNA level and liver histology are reported to be important factors in the response to interferon therapy. Recent studies have revealed that HCV NS5A 2209-2248 amino acid changes affect the response to interferon therapy of genotype 1b chronic hepatitis C. In contrast, some studies done in western countries have reported no such correlation. In the present study, interferon therapy was given to 58 Japanese patients, including 15 liver cirrhosis patients. NS5A 2209-2248 changes, the serum HCV level, ALT level, age and histology were examined in relation to the interferon effect. Twenty-four of the 58 patients (41%) showed a sustained virological response to the therapy. The responses to interferon therapy were significantly correlated with NS5A 2209-2248 changes (p < 0.0001), the HCV-RNA level (p < 0.0001) and histology (p < 0.0060). Among 15 liver cirrhosis patients, 3 of 6 mutant type patients showed a sustained virological response; 5 intermediate and 4 with wild type virus infected patients showed no responses. In conclusion, NS5A 2209-2248 changes may be a useful predictive marker of response to interferon therapy in addition to the serum HCV RNA level even in histologically advanced patients.

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