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J Viral Hepat. 2006 Apr;13(4):242-9.

Black patients with chronic hepatitis C have a lower sustained viral response rate than non-Blacks with genotype 1, but the same with genotypes 2/3, and this is not explained by more frequent dose reductions of interferon and ribavirin*.

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Veteran Affairs Medical Centers, Bronx, NY 10468, USA.


In previous hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment studies, Black patients not only had a lower sustained viral response (SVR) rate to interferon and ribavirin (RBV) than non-Black patients but also a higher frequency of HCV genotype 1 (GT-1) infection. The aim of this community-based study was to determine whether Black patients have a lower SVR rate independent of genotype. We prospectively enrolled 785 patients (24.8% Black, 71.5% White, 3.7% others) who received interferon alpha-2b 3 MU three times weekly + RBV 1000-1200 mg/day for 24 weeks (GT-2/3) or 48 weeks (GT-1). Black patients were more commonly infected with GT-1 (86.8%vs 64.8%, P < 0.001) and less frequently had an SVR compared with non-Black patients (8.4%vs 21.6%, P < 0.001). Within GT-1, Black patients had a lower SVR rate than non-Black patients (6.1%vs 14.1%, P = 0.004) but not within GT-2/3 (50.0%vs 36.5%, P = 0.47). Black patients had lower baseline haemoglobin levels (14.8 vs 15.3 g/dL, P < 0.001) and neutrophil counts (2900 vs 4100/mm(3), P < 0.001) and required more frequent dose reductions of RBV (29.8%vs 18.5%, P < 0.001) and interferon (4.7%vs 1.6%, P = 0.012). However, dose reductions were not associated with lower SVR rates while early treatment discontinuations were (2.9%vs 25.7%, P < 0.001). Independent predictors of SVR were GT-1 [odds ratio (OR) 0.33; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.20-0.55; P < 0.001], Black race (OR 0.45; 95% CI 0.22-0.93; P = 0.030), and advanced fibrosis, stages 3 + 4 (OR 0.53; 95% CI 0.31-0.92; P = 0.023). In conclusion, Black patients infected with HCV GT-1 (but not GT-2/3) have a lower SVR rate than non-Black patients. This is not explained by their lower baseline haemoglobin levels and neutrophil counts that lead to higher rates of ribavirin and interferon dose reductions.

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