AIM: To investigate the impact of telaprevir-based triple therapy on the serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) level of chronic hepatitis C patients. METHODS: A total of 210 patients with chronic hepatitis C genotype 1 of high viral load (baseline serum hepatitis C virus RNA > 5.0 log10 IU/mL) were divided into two groups by type of treatment: triple therapy with telaprevir, pegylated-interferon-α (PEG-IFNα), and ribavirin (RBV) for 24 wk (n = 88), or dual therapy with PEG-IFNα and RBV for 48 wk (n = 122). The relationship between virological response and the change in the serum AFP level from baseline to 24 wk after the end of treatment was examined. RESULTS: No significant difference in mean baseline AFP level was found between the triple and dual therapy groups (8.8 ng/mL vs 7.8 ng/mL). Triple therapy produced significant declines in the AFP level in sustained virological response (SVR) and non-SVR patients (7.8 ng/mL at baseline to 3.5 ng/mL at 24 wk after the end of treatment, P < 0.001 and 14.3 ng/mL to 9.5 ng/mL, P = 0.004, respectively). In contrast, dual therapy resulted in a significant decline in AFP level only in SVR patients (4.7 ng/mL to 2.8 ng/mL, P < 0.001), but not in non-SVR patients (10.2 ng/mL to 10.1 ng/mL). Among patients with a high-baseline AFP level (≥ 10 ng/mL), the decline in the AFP level was significantly higher in the triple therapy than in the dual therapy group (15.9 ng/mL vs 1.6 ng/mL, P = 0.037). CONCLUSION: Regardless of virological response, telaprevir-based triple therapy reduced the serum AFP level.
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