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Gastroenterology. 2010 Nov;139(5):1593-601. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2010.07.009. Epub 2010 Jul 14.

A sustained virologic response is durable in patients with chronic hepatitis C treated with peginterferon alfa-2a and ribavirin.

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  • 1Health Research Innovation Center, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.



A sustained virologic response (SVR) to therapy for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is defined as the inability to detect HCV RNA 24 weeks after completion of treatment. Although small studies have reported that the SVR is durable and lasts for long periods, it has not been conclusively shown.


The durability of treatment responses was examined in patients originally enrolled in one of 9 randomized multicenter trials (n = 1343). The study included patients who received pegylated interferon (peginterferon) alfa-2a alone (n = 166) or in combination with ribavirin (n = 1077, including 79 patients with normal alanine aminotransferase levels and 100 patients who were coinfected with human immunodeficiency virus and HCV) and whose serum samples were negative for HCV RNA (<50 IU/mL) at their final assessment. Patients were assessed annually, from the date of last treatment, for a mean of 3.9 years (range, 0.8-7.1 years).


Most patients (99.1%) who achieved an SVR had undetectable levels of HCV RNA in serum samples throughout the follow-up period. Serum samples from 0.9% of the patients contained HCV RNA a mean of 1.8 years (range, 1.1-2.9 years) after treatment ended. It is not clear if these patients were reinfected or experienced a relapse.


In a large cohort of patients monitored for the durability of an SVR, the SVR was maintained for almost 4 years after treatment with peginterferon alfa-2a alone or in combination with ribavirin. In patients with chronic hepatitis C infection, the SVR is durable and these patients should be considered as cured.

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