Predictors of sustained virological response to a 48-week course of pegylated interferon alfa-2a and ribavirin in patients infected with hepatitis C virus genotype 4

Hamad Al Ashgar, Ahmed Helmy, Mohamed Q. Khan, Khalid Al Kahtani, Mohammed Al Quaiz, Mohammed Rezeig, Ingvar Kagevi, Abdullah Alshehri, Abdullah Al Kalbani, Khalid Al Swat, Salim Dahab, Naser Elkum, Mohammed Al Fadda

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Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-14
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Saudi Medicine
Volume29
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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Al Ashgar, H., Helmy, A., Khan, M. Q., Al Kahtani, K., Al Quaiz, M., Rezeig, M., Kagevi, I., Alshehri, A., Al Kalbani, A., Al Swat, K., Dahab, S., Elkum, N., & Al Fadda, M. (2009). Predictors of sustained virological response to a 48-week course of pegylated interferon alfa-2a and ribavirin in patients infected with hepatitis C virus genotype 4. Annals of Saudi Medicine, 29(1), 4-14.