Hepatitis C virus RNA level changes in sera during different regimens of treatment in patients with chronic hepatitis C
Włodzimierz Mazur, Maciej Gonciarz, Urszula Mazurek, Magdalena Jurzak, Tadeusz Wilczok, Zbigniew Gonciarz
Med Sci Monit 2003; 9(3): 39-43
Interferon alfa-2b (IFN) has been shown to be effective for chronic hepatitis C infection, but treatment efficacy is still limited. Sustained response after intrerferon alfa monotherapy is achieved in about 15-25%. Great efforts are made to identify more effective forms of therapy. Some of them include modifications of dosage of antiviral drugs, duration of the therapy and more optimal selection of patients for the treatment. Several virus- and host-related predictive factors for response to antiviral treatment have been proposed. One of the key predictive factors of sustained response to therapy are the pretreatment levels of viremia as well as the dynamics of initial changes of HCV-RNA levels assessed during antiviral therapy. Aim. The aim of our study was to compare changes of HCV-RNA viremia in patients with chronic hepatitis C during different regimens of antiviral treatment. Material/Methods: 21 patients chronically infected with HCV (anti-HCV positive, HCV-RNA positive by PCR) were enrolled in the study. 11 patients (Group I) were treated with interferon alfa-2b (IFN-a2b) at 3 MU tiw doses administered subcutaneously for 12 months. 10 patients (Group II) received 3 MU of IFN-a2b daily during the first month and later the treatment was continued with the same dosage tiw for the next 11 months. The response to the treatment was assessed according to the generally accepted criteria after 6-month follow-up. The initial decline of HCV-RNA after 4 weeks of therapy was assessed. Results: Results are presented in the Table. HCV-RNA expressed in copy/ml. Conclusions: The initial decline of HCV-RNA level during the first 4 weeks of antiviral therapy with interferon correlates with the final response to the treatment. The greater decline of viremia was observed in the group of patients treated with the “induction” variant of treatment.
Keywords: chronic hepatitis C, Interferon Alfa-2b, HCV-RNA viremia