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J Hepatol. 2011 Mar;54(3):415-21. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2010.07.041. Epub 2010 Sep 22.

Importance of IL28B gene polymorphisms in hepatitis C virus genotype 2 and 3 infected patients.

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Medizinische Klinik 1, J. W. Goethe-University Hospital, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.



Genetic variation in the interleukin 28B (IL28B) gene has been associated with the response to interferon-alfa/ribavirin therapy in hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1-infected patients. The importance of three IL28B single nucleotide polymorphisms (rs8099917, rs12980275 and rs12979860) for HCV genotype 2/3-infected patients is unknown.


In patients with chronic hepatitis C genotype 2/3 (n=267), IL28B host genotypes (rs8099917, rs12980275 and rs12979860) were analyzed for associations with sustained virologic response (SVR) to antiviral therapy with (pegylated) interferon-alfa and ribavirin and with respect to epidemiological, biochemical, and virological parameters. For comparison, hepatitis C genotype 1 patients (n=378) and healthy controls (n=200) were included.


The rs12979860 CC genotype, lower age, and genotype 2 were significantly associated with SVR in HCV genotype 2/3-infected patients (p=0.01, p=0.03 and p=0.03, respectively). No association was observed for rs8099917 and rs12980275. In addition, an SVR in patients with rapid virologic response (RVR) was associated with the rs12979860 CC genotype (p=0.05), while for non-RVR no association was found. Furthermore, a significant association with a higher baseline viral load was observed for all three IL28B genotypes in genotype 1/2/3-infected patients. Finally, increasing frequencies of the rs12979860 CC genotypes were observed in genotype 1- (33.9%), genotype 3- (38.9%), and genotype 2-infected (51.9%) patients in comparison with healthy controls (49.0%) (p<0.01).


In genotype 2/3-infected patients, rs12979860 was significantly associated with SVR. The frequency of the rs12979860 CC genotype is lower in HCV genotype 1 vs. genotype 2/3 patients. All major IL28B genotypes are associated with HCV-RNA concentration.

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