Thrombocytopenia in patients with chronic hepatitis C may represent an obstacle for the initiation of antiviral treatment. The aim of this study was to evaluate factors predictive of successful pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) α2b and ribavirin (RBV) treatment for patients with thrombocytopenia with no history of splenectomy or partial splenic embolization. One hundred and fifty-one chronic hepatitis C patients (genotype 1: n = 110, genotype 2: n = 41) with TCP (<100 × 109/L) at baseline were enrolled. Pretreatment variables included interleukin 28B (IL28B) genotype (rs8099917) and homoeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance score (HOMA-IR). The kinetics of haemoglobin and platelets according to the inosine triphosphatase (ITPA) genotype (rs1127354) were investigated. Sustained virological response (SVR) was significantly more frequent in hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 2 (65.9%) than in genotype 1 (34.5%) patients (P < 0.0001). Multiple logistic regression analysis of HCV genotype 1 extracted IL28B TT genotype [odds ratio (OR) 5.97, P = 0.006] and HOMA-IR <2.5 (OR 7.14, P = 0.0016) as significant independent pretreatment predictors of SVR. The analyses of HCV genotype 2 showed that HOMA-IR was significantly related to SVR, but IL28B genotype was not. Patients with ITPA CC genotype showed a significant haemoglobin reduction and lower degree of platelets decrease than those with ITPA CA/AA genotypes. The most common reason for premature discontinuation of treatment was the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (n = 8, 5.3%). In conclusion, HOMA-IR is a useful predictor of SVR for patients with thrombocytopenia infected with HCV genotype 1 or 2 treated with PEG-IFNα2b and RBV. The inclusion of IL28B, ITPA genotypes and HOMA-IR adds valuable therapeutic information.
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