Efficacy of interferon retreatment after relapse for chronic hepatitis C patients with biochemical response after first interferon therapy.

With respect to interferon (IFN) treatment for chronic hepatitis C, normalization of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) as well as clearance of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-RNA after IFN therapy is important. It has been shown that the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients with normal ALT is significantly lower than that in those with elevated ALT after IFN therapy. We assessed the efficacy of IFN retreatment for chronic hepatitis C patients who had a biochemical response (BR) after the first IFN therapy and reelevated ALT during follow up, by a case control study.
Fifteen patients (case group; group 1) enrolled in this study showed a BR after the first IFN therapy and reelevated ALT during follow up. Next, we retrospectively selected 30 patients (control group; group 2) with no response (NR) after the first IFN therapy. Group 2 patients were matched 1 : 2 with group 1 patients for sex and age. All patients were given intramuscular injections of human lymphoblastoid IFN alpha daily (6 MU) for 8 weeks and then three times a week for 16 weeks. We compared the clinical and biological differences between group 1 patients and group 2 patients. Virological response (VR) was defined when serum HCV-RNA showed negativity more than 6 months after the completion of IFN therapy. BR was defined when ALT values remained normal during more than 6 months in spite of positive serum HCV-RNA, by reverse-transcription nested polymerase chain reaction, 3 and 6 months after the completion of IFN therapy. NR was defined as any response except for VR or BR.
The rate of patients showing VR in this study was 6.7% (1/15) in group 1 and 13.3% (4/30) in group 2. There was no significant difference between the groups with respect to VR. BR occurred in 73.3% (11/15) of patients in group 1, but in only 3.3% (1/30) of patients in group 2 (P = 0.0002).
We conclude that IFN retreatment is one of the effective strategies with which to achieve BR again in HCV-positive patients who had a BR after their first IFN therapy and reelevation of ALT during follow up.
AuthorsYasuji Arase, Kenji Ikeda, Akihito Tsubota, Yoshiyuki Suzuki, Satoshi Saitoh, Masahiro Kobayashi, Fumitaka Suzuki, Norio Akuta, Takashi Someya, Tetsuya Hosaka, Mariko Kobayashi, Hiromitsu Kumada
JournalJournal of gastroenterology (J Gastroenterol) Vol. 39 Issue 5 Pg. 455-60 ( 2004) ISSN: 0944-1174 [Print] Japan
PMID15175944 (Publication Type: Journal Article)
CopyrightCopyright 2004 Springer-Verlag
Chemical References
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Alanine Transaminase
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alanine Transaminase (blood)
  • Antiviral Agents (therapeutic use)
  • Female
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic (blood, drug therapy)
  • Humans
  • Interferon-alpha (therapeutic use)
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Remission Induction
  • Retreatment

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