Hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA level determined by second-generation branched-DNA probe assay as predictor of response to interferon treatment in patients with chronic HCV viremia

Norihiro Furusyo, Jun Hayashi, Kenichiro Kashiwagi, Hisashi Nakashima, Shigeki Nabeshima, Yasunori Sawayama, Naoko Kinukawa, Seizaburo Kashiwagi

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Abstract

Using first- and second-generation branched-DNA probe assays (1st- and 2nd-bDNA), we investigated the predictors of favorable clinical response to interferon (IFN) treatment in patients with chronic HCV viremia. A total of 122 patients (85 genotype 1b and 37 genotype 2a) with chronic HCV viremia received 24-week IFN-α treatment. Patients with sustained clearance of serum HCV RNA by polymerase chain reaction at six months after IFN treatment were defined as having a sustained response (SR). HCV RNA level was determined by 1st- and 2nd-bDNA assays prior to treatment. Mean HCV RNA level by 1st-bDNA was significantly higher in genotype 1b patients [5.4 × 106 HCV genome equivalent (Meq)/ ml] than in genotype 2a patients (0.9 Meq/ml) (P < 0.05). There was no significant difference between patients with these genotypes in the level by 2nd-bDNA (1b: 5.2 Meq/ml and 2a: 3.1 Meq/ml). SR was achieved by 43 (35.2%) of 122 patients. Mean HCV RNA levels by both the 1st- and 2nd-bDNA of SR patients (1.0 and 1.9 Meq/ml) were significantly lower than those of non-SR patients (5.3 and 6.0 Meq/ml) (both P < 0.05). The SR rate in genotype 2a patients (59.5%) was significant higher than in genotype 1b patients (24.7%) (P < 0.05). Stepwise logistic regression analysis showed that HCV RNA level ≤1.0 Meq/ml by 2nd-bDNA (odds ratio = 7.6, compared to level > 1.0 Meq/ml, P < 0.05) was a significant predictive cutoff for SR. Using 2nd-bDNA, a significantly higher rate of SR was found in genotype 1b patients with level ≤1.0 Meq/ml (57.6%) than in those with level > 1.0 Meq/ml (3.8%) (P < 0.05). The SR rate of genotype 2a patients with level >1.0 Meq/ml (68.6%) was somewhat higher than for those with level ≤1.0 Meq/ml (52.4%). These findings suggested that, using 2nd-bDNA, a low HCV RNA level of ≤1.0 Meq/ml was the most favorable marker of successful IFN treatment and that patients with genotype 2a, even those with level >1.0 Meq/ml, had a high rate of SR to IFN treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-542
Number of pages8
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Volume47
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 23 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology

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