Department of Infectious Diseases, Rennes University Hospital, Rennes 1 University, Rennes, France. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hypothesized that, in Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Hepatitis C Virus (HIV/HCV) co-infected patients who did not respond to peg-interferon and ribavirin, a maintenance therapy with peg-interferon could induce fibrosis regression.
This was a randomized study with two parallel groups. HIV/HCV co-infected patients received peg-interferon α-2a at 180 μg/week or remained on observation for 96 weeks. The primary endpoint was the percentage of patients who experienced a decrease of at least one point in their Metavir fibrosis score between initial and final liver biopsies. Secondary endpoints included plasma fibrosis markers at week 96, occurrence of HCV-related complications, and survival.
A total of 52 patients were randomized (peg-interferon: 25; control: 27) including 18 with cirrhosis. The median (interquartile range) age was 44 (40-46) years, and 69% were male. A total of 64% had ALT levels >1.5 normal values, and the CD4 cell count was 391 (296-537) cells/mm3; 67% of patients had HIV RNA <200 copies/mL at entry. The main endpoint was assessed in 41 patients. Response rates were 3/20 (15%) and 4/21 (19%) in the peg-interferon and control groups, respectively (p = 0.99). There was no significant difference between peg-interferon and control groups on plasma fibrosis markers at the final visit. Severe liver-related complications were observed in 2 and 5 patients in peg-interferon and control groups, respectively. Three deaths were observed, all in the control group.
A maintenance therapy with peg-interferon α-2a over 96 weeks in HIV/HCV co-infected patients, who were non-responders to HCV treatment, did not change liver fibrosis. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00122616.