Background and objectives: Knowledge of the predictors of sustained viral response (SVR) to pegylated interferon (PEG-INF) alfa-2a and ribavirin (RBV) therapy in patients with hepatitis C genotype-4 (HCV-4) is crucial for selecting patients who would benefit most from therapy. We assessed the predictors of SVR to this combination therapy in Saudi patients with chronic HCV-4 infection. Patients and methods: This retrospective study included 148 patients with HCV-4 infection who underwent clinical, biochemical and virological assessments before treatment and at 12, 24, 48 and 72 weeks post-treatment. Results: Of the 148 patients, 90 (60.8%) were males. Mean (SD) for age was 48. 5 (12.7) years and BMI was 27.9 (7.5) kg/m2. Seventy-nine of 148 (60.1%) patients were treatment naïve and 110 (74.3%) underwent pre-treatment liver biopsy. Eighteen (12.2%) patients did not complete therapy because of side effects or they were lost to follow up. Early virological response was achieved in 84 of 91 (92.3%) patients. In the 130 (87.8%) patients who completed therapy, 34 (26.2%) were non-responders and 96 (63.8%) achieved end-of-treatment virological response (ETVR). SVR and virological relapse (24 weeks after ETVR) occurred in 66/130 (50.7%) and 30/130 (31.2%) patients, respectively. Compared to relapsers, sustained responders were significantly younger (P=.005), non-diabetic (P=.005), had higher serum albumin (P=.028), lower alpha-fetoprotein level (P=.026), lower aspartate aminotransferase (AST) (P=.04) levels, and were treatment-naïve (P=.008). In a multivariate regression analysis, the independent predictors of SVR were younger age (P=.016), lower serum AST (P=.012), and being treatment naïve (P=.021). Conclusion: Approximately half of HCV-4 patients who complete the course of combination therapy achieve an SVR, especially if they are young, treatment naïve and have lower AST levels.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Annals of Saudi Medicine|
|Publication status||Published - 2009|
ASJC Scopus subject areas