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Dig Dis. 2013;31(5-6):426-33. doi: 10.1159/000355381. Epub 2013 Nov 21.

Prediction of response to pegylated interferon/ribavirin combination therapy for chronic hepatitis C genotypes 2a and 2b and high viral load.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Kobe Asahi Hospital, Kobe, Japan.



We investigated the impact of host genetics represented by the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) of the IL28B gene and viral genetic variations within the nonstructural protein 5A (NS5A) [including the interferon (IFN)/ribavirin (RBV) resistance-determining region (IRRDR) and the IFN sensitivity-determining region (ISDR)] on the outcome of pegylated IFN and RBV (PEG-IFN/RBV) treatment.


Sixty-six patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV)-2a or HCV-2b who received PEG-IFN/RBV for 24 weeks were examined.


In HCV-2a, the major genotype of IL28B SNP showed a tendency toward association with sustained virological response (SVR) and rapid virological response (RVR), and four or more mutations in IRRDR (IRRDR[2a] ≥4) and one or more mutations in ISDR plus its carboxyl-flanking region (ISDR/+C[2a] ≥1) were significantly associated with SVR and RVR. In HCV-2b, one or more mutations in the N-terminal part of IRRDR (IRRDR/N[2b] ≥1) were significantly associated with RVR. Multivariate analysis identified the major genotype of IL28B SNP and IRRDR[2a] ≥4 as independent predictive factors of SVR in HCV-2a, with IRRDR[2a] ≥4 being more powerful than the IL28B SNP. Also, IRRDR[2a] ≥4 in HCV-2a and IRRDR/N[2b] ≥1 in HCV-2b were significant determiners of RVR.


The NS5A sequence heterogeneity and IL28B SNP are useful factors to predict the sensitivity to PEG-IFN/RBV therapy in HCV-2a and HCV-2b infections.

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