Department of Infectious Diseases, Peking University First Hospital.
The hemochromatosis (HFE) gene encodes the HFE protein that regulates iron absorption. HFE mutations lead to the hemochromatosis disease of excessive iron absorption. HFE mutations may also influence the sustained virologic response (SVR, long-term virus suppression) in chronic hepatitis C patients treated with interferon-based antiviral therapy. We performed a meta-analysis of all English and Chinese language studies of HFE mutations and SVR in interferon-treated chronic hepatitis C patients indexed in the Medline, PubMed, Embase, and China National Knowledge Infrastructure databases to November 2011. Seven studies involving 605 patients with HFE mutations (homozygous or heterozygous mutation of C282Y, H63D or S65C) and 1279 with wild-type HFE (no mutation of C282Y, H63D or S65C for both alleles) were analyzed. Odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated with the fixed- or random-effect models. HFE mutations were associated with significantly higher SVR rate (vs. wild-type: OR = 1.56, 95% CI: 1.23 - 1.97, P < 0.001), indicating that mutation carriers were likely to achieve SVR in response to interferon-based antiviral therapy. Stratification analysis by HFE mutation type revealed that the H63D mutation was associated with a significantly higher SVR rate (OR = 1.60, 95% CI: 1.09 - 2.34, P = 0.020), while the C282Y mutation was not (OR = 1.19, 95% CI: 0.71 - 1.98, P = 0.510). Our meta-analysis results indicate that the H63D mutation in HFE is associated with a higher SVR rate in chronic hepatitis C patients treated with interferon-based antiviral therapy.