Department of Infectious Diseases and Hepatology, Collegium Medicum, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Floriana 12 Str., 85-030, Bydgoszcz, Poland.
IL-28B polymorphisms are predictors of response to therapy in adults infected with hepatitis C. We do not know whether they are markers of response to therapy in children and adolescents. The aim of this study was to determine whether single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the IL-28B gene could influence the probability of response to therapy compared with other known baseline prognostic factors and correlate with clinical findings in pediatric patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes 1 or 4. We determined three SNPs of IL-28B (rs12979860, rs12980275, and rs8099917) in 82 patients with chronic HCV infection treated with pegylated interferon alpha and ribavirin (peg-IFNα/RBV). Treatment response and clinical data were analyzed. Overall, sustained virological response (SVR) was achieved by 45 % of patients infected with difficult-to-treat HCV genotypes 1 and 4. Except for IL-28B polymorphisms, there was no association of SVR with any other clinical data. IL-28B rs12979860 CC [odds ratio (OR), 6.81; p = 0.001] and rs8099917 TT (OR, 3.14; p = 0.013) genotypes were associated with higher SVR rates. IL-28B rs12980275 was not significantly associated with SVR (p = 0.058). Only the distribution between CC and CT-TT genotypes of rs12979860 significantly differentiated patients achieving early virological response (EVR) (OR, 10.0; p = 0.011). Children with the rs12979860 CC genotype had significantly higher baseline viral load compared with CT-TT patients (p = 0.010). In children and adolescents chronically infected with HCV genotypes 1 and 4, IL-28B rs12979860 and rs8099917 polymorphisms were the only predictors of response to peg-IFN/RBV.