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Scand J Gastroenterol. 2003 Mar;38(3):314-9.

Porphyria cutanea tarda as a predictor of poor response to interferon alfa therapy in chronic hepatitis C.

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Dept. of Gastroenterology, Unit for the Study of Porphyrias, Pathology and Clinical Epidemiology, Hospital Universitario '12 de Octubre', Madrid, Spain.



Porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT) is sometimes associated with hepatitis C virus chronic infection. The aim of this study was to describe the effect of interferon alfa (IFN-alpha) in the treatment of patients with chronic hepatitis C and PCT.


We treated a total of 66 patients with chronic hepatitis C with IFN-alpha 2b (5 MU t.i.w.) for 12 months. Twenty-two of these patients suffered from PCT as well. These patients differed from patients without PCT in that they were men, past history of alcohol abuse and HFE gene mutations were more common and the source of infection was almost always unknown.


Sustained virologic response was obtained in 19.7% of the 66 treated patients, 27.3% in the non-PCT group and 4.5% in the PCT group (P < 0.05). This difference could not be ascribed to the difference in sex of patients, history of alcohol abuse, HCV genotype or iron status.


Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that PCT is independently and significantly associated with non-sustained response to IFNalpha therapy. In conclusion, patients with chronic hepatitis C and PCT rarely responded to IFNalpha treatment.

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