Klinikum der J. W. Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Medizinische Klinik 1, Theodor-Stern-Kai 7, 60590 Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recent data have clearly shown that a sustained virologic response can be achieved in different HCV infected patient populations with various interferon-free treatment regimens. Despite the successful implementation of telaprevir- and boceprevir-based triple therapies, all-oral regimens will certainly become a first choice for a number of HCV-infected patients in the very near future, as triple therapy approaches are burdened with significant side-effects and limited success in patients with advanced liver fibrosis and prior null-response to pegylated interferon-α (pegIFN-α) / ribavirin therapy. However, available data from phase I and II clinical trials evaluating interferon-free regimes have not yet revealed a clearly outstanding all-oral combination, and numerous challenges remain to be addressed by intensive ongoing and future research. In particular, thus far evaluated all-oral regimens did not cure a satisfactory percentage of patients with unfavorable baseline characteristics, namely patients infected with HCV genotype 1a, previous null-response to pegIFN-α / ribavirin, or liver cirrhosis. In this review, we summarize available data of interferon-free regimens for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C and assess implications for perspectives and challenges in the further development of all-oral therapies.