BACKGROUND: Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of interleukin-28B (IL28B) have received considerable interest for their association with sustained virological response (SVR) when treating patients of genotype-1 hepatitis C virus (GT1-HCV) chronic infection with pegylated interferon and ribavirin (PegIFN/RBV). This study was to investigate the predictive power of IL28B SNPs for on-treatment responses and SVR in treatment-naïve patients with GT1-HCV chronic infection.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We analyzed ten SNPs of IL28B in 191 treatment-naïve patients with GT1-HCV chronic infection who received PegIFN/RBV. In these patients, rapid virological response (RVR), early virological response (EVR) and SVR were achieved in 69.6%, 95.8% and 68.6% of the patients, respectively. Multivariate analysis (odds ratio; 95% confidence interval; P value) indicated age (0.96; 0.93-0.99; 0.012), low baseline viral load (4.65; 2.23-9.66; <0.001) and CC genotype of rs12979860 (7.74; 2.55-23.53; <0.001) but no other SNPs were independent predictors for SVR. In addition, none of the ten SNPs examined were associated with baseline viral load and stages of liver fibrosis. Regarding RVR, low baseline viral load (2.83; 1.40-5.73; 0.004) and CC genotype of rs12979860 (10.52; 3.45-32.04; <0.001) were two critical predictors. As for EVR, only CC genotype of rs12979860 (36.21; 6.68-196.38; <0.001) was the predictor. Similarly, for end of treatment response (ETR), CC genotype of rs12979860 (15.42; 4.62-51.18; <0.001) was the only predictor. For patients with RVR, only low baseline viral load (3.90; 1.57-9.68; 0.003) could predict the SVR. For patients without RVR, only rs12979860 (4.60; 1.13-18.65; 0.033) was the predictor for SVR.
CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: rs12979860 is the critical predictor for RVR, EVR, ETR and SVR in treatment-naïve patients of GT1-HCV chronic infection. Furthermore, this SNP is the only predictor for SVR in patients without RVR. These results have provided evidence that rs12979860 is the ideal IL28B SNP for genetic testing in treating patients of GT1-HCV chronic infection.