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Antivir Ther. 2009;14(1):45-54.

Factors affecting early viral load decline of Asian chronic hepatitis C patients receiving pegylated interferon plus ribavirin therapy.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.



Early viral load decline following pegylated interferon-alpha2a and ribavirin therapy is an important predictor of the treatment responses in chronic hepatitis C (CHC) patients, thus, it is essential to evaluate the influence of host and viral factors on early viral load decline.


Clinical and serial virological data were collected from 145 consecutive Asian CHC patients with pegylated interferon-alpha2a plus ribavirin therapy. A dose of pegylated interferon-alpha2a was administered at week 1 and then weekly with daily oral ribavirin for 24 or 48 weeks. Genotyping and quantification of hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA were done using molecular methods.


A total of 81 patients were infected with HCV genotype 1,61 with genotype 2 and 3 with both genotypes 1 and 2. At the end of follow-up, 110 patients attained sustained virological response (SVR). In multivariate analyses, body mass index (BMI) and genotype were related to viral load decline at day 2, baseline viral load and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels were correlated with viral load decline between days 2 and 28. Genotype, baseline viral load, alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels and BMI independently predicted rapid virological response, whereas only genotype 2, lower baseline viral load and more substantial viral load decline at day 28 predicted a higher SVR.


HCV genotype, baseline viral load, pretreatment BMI, HDL and ALT levels have a significant effect on early viral load decline of Asian CHC patients with interferon-based therapy. Only HCV genotype, baseline viral load and viral load decline at day 28 can independently predict SVR.

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