Department of Transplantation and Surgery, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary.
One-third of the liver transplantations are performed because of hepatitis C cirrhosis all over the world and also in Hungary. The recurrence rate is practically 100%, influencing graft and patient survivals; within 5 years cirrhosis develops again in 20% to 30% of cases. The therapy is pegylated interferon α-2a and α-2b plus ribavirin as for nontransplanted subjects with the goal to eradicate the virus and maintain graft function. In 25% to 45% of treated patients, it is possible to achieve a sustained virological response (SVR). The response is influenced by viral, donor, and recipient factors. We investigated the genotype of 68 liver recipients transplanted because of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection between September 1998 and February 2011. We focused on the interleukin (IL) 28B gene locus single nucleotide polymorphism found on chromosome 19; the rs12979860 minor allele (homozygous [wild TT and CC], heterozygous [CT]) in relation to the interferon response. Ten percent of the patients belonged to the CC, 62% to the CT, and 28% to the TT group, and 83% of the CC group became negative or therapy is still ongoing. The CT genotype reached 15.4% SVR with ongoing treatment for most patients. In TT carriers showed a 23.5% SVR. Our patients formed a homogenous group regarding the surgical team, the therapy, and the HCV genotype. Ninety percent belonged to the possible "hard to treat" group. The 10% CC group gave the highest number of SVR and HCV polymerase chain reaction negativity upon antiviral therapy. Regarding our results, one has to take in consideration the small patient number and the fact that the cirrhotic patients were listed for transplantation where they could not be treated or became therapy-resistant. IL28B is just one predictive factor among others for successful posttransplant HCV therapy; further examinations are needed to fully understand its role.