Sezione di Gastroenterologia, Di.Bi.M.I.S., University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy.
The advent of triple therapy (TT) with first-generation protease inhibitors boceprevir (BOC) and telaprevir (TVR) in addition to pegylated interferon and ribavirin (PEG-IFN/RBV) has resulted in a significant improvement in the sustained virological response (SVR) rate and potentially in life years gained compared to dual therapy (DT), when treating naïve or treatment-experienced patients with genotype 1 (G1) chronic hepatitis C (CHC). This benefit is partly offset by the increased complexity of treatment, and the increased costs and risks of therapy, making it necessary to optimize the indications for TT. Naïve patients with mild fibrosis and the IL28B CC polymorphism and/or with a rapid virological response (RVR) to DT can still benefit from DT, while TT is preferable in all others. Phase 3 trials have clearly shown that a 1 log(10) decrease in HCVRNA after 4 weeks of DT associated with a favourable IL28B genotype and a low stage of fibrosis, and a pattern of previous response to DT in treatment-experienced patients are the strongest predictors of an SVR to TT. Moreover, an extended rapid virological response (eRVR) is associated with an SVR rate >90%, so that the overall duration of treatment can be shortened in a high proportion of patients. Further efforts to optimize the current TT regimens both by increasing efficacy and improving tolerance are still needed. Most important, in the future, treatment can probably be personalized based on data from post-marketing surveillance of TT providing information about patient groups that were underrepresented in phase 3 studies such as those with cirrhosis.