Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a serious global health problem. Previous studies have suggested that the interleukin 28B (IL28B) rs8099917 genotype is related to spontaneous clearance of HCV in Caucasian populations. Our objective was to investigate the association of the IL28B rs8099917 genotype with spontaneous clearance of HCV by community-dwelling Japanese. A cross-sectional community-based population study of 993 Japanese residents was conducted. Based on anti-HCV antibody and HCV RNA levels, 50 subjects were assigned to the spontaneous-clearance group, 155 to the chronic-infection group, and 788 to the control group. Logistic regression analysis was done to examine the roles of the IL28B rs8099917 genotype and sex. To analyze the interactions between these factors, an “IL28B rs809991 genotype × sex” interaction term was included in the multivariate analysis. Significantly more subjects in the spontaneous-clearance group than in the chronic-infection group had the favorable IL28B rs8099917 genotype and were female. Multivariate logistic regression analysis extracted the favorable IL28B rs8099917 TT genotype (odds ratio [OR] 9.39; 95 % confidence interval [CI], 2.16–40.83, P = 0.003) and female sex (OR, 2.27; 95 % CI, 1.16–4.45, P = 0.017) as factors contributing to the spontaneous clearance of HCV. No significant interaction was found between the IL28B rs8099917 genotype and sex (P for interaction = 0.428). Both the favorable IL28B rs8099917 genotype and female sex were associated with the spontaneous clearance of HCV in this Japanese population.
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