Clinical and laboratory studies have indicated that coinfection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) can suppress one another, eliciting a dominant disease phenotype. To assess whether HBV can influence the antiviral effect of treatment on HCV, we performed a meta-analysis to comparatively analyze the response to interferon plus ribavirin treatment in patients with HBV/HCV coinfection and HCV mono-infection.
Published studies in the English-language medical literature that involved cohorts of HBV/HCV coinfection and HCV mono-infection were obtained by searching Medline, Cochrane and Embase databases. Studies that compared the efficacy of treatment with interferon plus ribavirin in HBV/HCV coinfection and HCV mono-infection were assessed. End-of-treatment virological response (ETVR), sustained virological response (SVR), HCV relapse rate, and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) normalization rate were compared between HBV/HCV coinfection and HCV mono-infection patients.
Five trials involving 705 patients were analyzed. At the end of follow-up serum ALT normalization rates in patients with HCV mono-infection were significantly higher than in patients with HBV/HCV coinfection (odds ratio (OR) = 0.56, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.40--0.80, P = 0.001). The ETVR and SVR achieved in HBV/HCV coinfection patients were comparable to those in HCV mono-infection patients (OR = 1.03, 95% CI: 0.37--2.82, P = 0.96 and OR = 0.87, 95% CI: 0.62--1.21, P = 0.38, respectively). The rate of relapse for HCV or HCV genotype 1 was not significantly different between HBV/HCV coinfection patients and HCV mono-infection patients (OR = 1.55, 95% CI: 0.98--2.47, P = 0.06; HCV genotype 1: OR = 2.4, 95% CI: 1.17--4.91, P = 0.19).
Treatment with interferon and ribavirin achieves similar ETVR and SVR in HBV/HCV coinfection and HCV mono-infection. HBV/HCV coinfection patients had distinctively lower end of follow-up serum ALT normalization.