Background & Aims: Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with IL28B influence the outcome of peginterferon-α/ribavirin therapy of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. We analyzed the kinetics of HCV RNA during therapy as a function of IL28B SNPs. Methods: IL28B SNPs rs8099917, rs12979860, and rs12980275 were genotyped in 242 HCV treatment-naïve Caucasian patients (67% genotype 1, 28% genotype 2 or 3) receiving peginterferon-α2a (180 μg weekly) and ribavirin (1000-1200 mg daily) with serial HCV-RNA quantifications. Associations between IL28B polymorphisms and early viral kinetics were assessed, accounting for relevant covariates. Results: In the multivariate analyses for genotype 1 patients, the T allele of rs12979860 (Trs12979860) was an independent risk factor for a less pronounced first phase HCV RNA decline (log100.89 IU/ml among T carriers vs. 2.06 among others, adjusted p <0.001) and lower rapid (15% vs. 38%, adjusted p = 0.007) and sustained viral response rates (48% vs. 66%, adjusted p <0.001). In univariate analyses, Trs12979860was also associated with a reduced second phase decline (p = 0.002), but this association was no longer significant after adjustment for the first phase decline (adjusted p = 0.8). In genotype 2/3 patients, Trs12979860was associated with a reduced first phase decline (adjusted p = 0.04), but not with a second phase decline. Conclusions: Polymorphisms in IL28B are strongly associated with the first phase viral decline during peginterferon-α/ ribavirin therapy of chronic HCV infection, irrespective of HCV genotype.

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Journal of Hepatology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Bochud, P.-Y., Bibert, S., Negro, F., Haagmans, B., Soulier, A., Ferrari, C., … Lagging, M. (2011). IL28B polymorphisms predict reduction of HCV RNA from the first day of therapy in chronic hepatitis C. Journal of Hepatology, 55(5), 980–988. doi:10.1016/j.jhep.2011.01.050