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Eur J Pediatr. 1997 Sep;156(9):704-8.

Efficacy of interferons in treating children with chronic hepatitis C.

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Department of Paediatrics, University of Tokushima, School of Medicine, Japan.


Twenty-two children with chronic hepatitis serologically positive for hepatitis C virus (HCV) were treated with interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha). Liver biopsy showed chronic active hepatitis in 13 and chronic persistent hepatitis in 9 patients. A sustained clearance of HCV was observed in 8/22 children 12 months after the administration of IFN-alpha for 26 weeks, associated with normalization of HCV core antibody. Of these eight patients six had HCV genotype III and two HCV genotype II or IV. Hepatitis relapsed in seven other patients after completion of IFN-alpha with an increase in HCV core antibody titre, five with HCV genotype II, and two with HCV genotype III or IV. A second course of IFN-alpha suppressed the reactivation of HCV in all seven patients. Three of seven responders who relapsed after the first course remained negative for HCV RNA 12 months after their second course of IFN-alpha. However, the remaining four patients with HCV genotype II again relapsed after completing their second course of IFN-alpha. Seven children with the HCV genotype II resistant to IFN, including 8 weeks of IFN-beta administration, and showed no significant reduction in HCV core antibody titre.


The genotype of HCV (III) and a reduction in the core antibody titre appear to be useful parameters for predicting the response to IFN-alpha therapy.

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