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Antivir Ther. 2012;17(1):35-43. doi: 10.3851/IMP1923.

Age and total ribavirin dose are independent predictors of relapse after interferon therapy in chronic hepatitis C revealed by data mining analysis.

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Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Musashino Red Cross Hospital, Tokyo, Japan.



This study aimed to define factors associated with relapse among responders to pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) plus ribavirin (RBV) therapy in chronic hepatitis C.


A cohort of genotype 1b chronic hepatitis C patients treated with PEG-IFN plus RBV and who had an undetectable HCV RNA by week 12 (n=951) were randomly assigned to model derivation (n=636) or internal validation (n=315) groups. An independent cohort (n=598) were used for an external validation. A decision tree model for relapse was explored using data mining analysis.


The data mining analysis defined five subgroups of patients with variable rates of relapse ranging from 13% to 52%. The reproducibility of the model was confirmed by internal and external validations (r(2)=0.79 and 0.83, respectively). Patients with undetectable HCV RNA at week 4 had the lowest risk of relapse (13%), followed by patients <60 years with undetectable HCV RNA at week 5-12 who received ≥3.0 g/kg of body weight of RBV (16%). Older patients with a total RBV dose <3.0 g/kg had the highest risk of relapse (52%). Higher RBV dose beyond 3.0 g/kg was associated with further decrease of relapse rate among patients <60 years (up to 11%) but not among older patients whose relapse rate remained stable around 30%.


Data mining analysis revealed that time to HCV RNA negativity, age and total RBV dose was associated with relapse. To prevent relapse, ≥3.0 g/kg of RBV should be administered. Higher dose of RBV may be beneficial in patients <60 years.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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