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Transplant Proc. 2005 Apr;37(3):1424-5.

Treatment of hepatitis C virus with interferon in hemodialysis patients awaiting kidney transplant.

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Department of Nephrology, Hospital Universitario Virgen Del Rocío, Seville, Spain.



Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is associated with worsening disease progression after renal transplant, and to date there is no available treatment for use at this stage. It has therefore been recommended to treat HCV infection with interferon (IFN) during the dialysis period while the patient is on the waiting list for transplantation.


We analyzed data from 27 patients on hemodialysis awaiting transplant, who were under IFN treatment for chronic HCV infection (dominant genotype, 1b). The starting regime was IFN alpha-2b, 3 MU x 3/week (n = 20) or pegylated IFN alpha-2a, 135 mg/week (n = 7). If there was clearance of HCV RNA in the first 3 to 6 months, we attempted to prolong IFN treatment for 1 year, although in many patients the dose had to be reduced. A sustained response was defined as viral clearance for at least 12 months after the end of treatment.


Viremia was negative in 13 patients (48.1%) at the end of treatment, but two of these patients relapsed, to give an overall long-term response rate of 11 patients (40.7%) and incomplete follow-up in three patients. Viral clearance was not achieved in 11 patients. In three patients (12%), IFN had to be suspended before finishing the third month of therapy due to side effects (mainly pancytopenia and intolerance of a previous kidney graft). Seven patients showing a sustained response underwent transplant, maintaining a negative viremia result.


IFN treatment was effective in a high proportion of dialysis patients with HCV infection, with response rates possibly even higher than for the general population. However, its use is restricted by a high incidence of side effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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