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J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2011 Jan;26(1):55-62. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1746.2010.06319.x.

Human cytomegalovirus infection inhibits response of chronic hepatitis-C-virus-infected patients to interferon-based therapy.

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1
Department of Biomedical Technology, National Research Center, Cairo, Egypt.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND AIM:

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a ubiquitous pathogen that infects the majority of humans. Co-infection of CMV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) may deteriorate the prognosis of HCV-infected patients. This study was conducted to examine the role of CMV reactivation in determining the response rate to treatment with interferon and ribavirin therapy in chronic HCV patients.

METHODS:

Viral loads and genotyping were assessed using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and Innolipa systems, respectively. Reactivation of CMV in HCV patients who were all positive for CMV immunoglobulin G antibodies was tested by amplification of the gB1 gene using the end-point dilution quantitative-nested polymerase chain reaction method.

RESULTS:

CMV DNA was detected in 89.7% of non-responders and in 34.6% of sustained virological responders. Patients with reactivated CMV had significantly higher fibrosis scores (72.7%) than those with undetectable CMV DNA (23.8%, P=0.002). Patients with positive CMV had higher rates of non-response and relapse (79.5%) than those with negative CMV DNA (19%). Chronic HCV patients with latent CMV had higher rates of response (81%) to treatment than those with reactivated CMV (20.5%, P<0.001). Therefore, HCV patients with reactivated CMV and advanced fibrosis were least likely to achieve a sustained virological response following interferon therapy. This possibility is reduced to 50% of its original value in patients with reactivated CMV without fibrosis.

CONCLUSIONS:

Besides the staging of liver fibrosis, CMV co-infection should be considered as an extremely important factor when designing predictive models for HCV response to interferon treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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