BACKGROUND AND AIMS: We completed a retrospective analysis of patients with genotype 3 hepatitis C virus (HCV) undergoing therapy in four UK centres with large populations of patients from the Indian subcontinent.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Notes on all patients treated with pegylated interferon and ribavirin were reviewed and factors that influenced the response were examined.
RESULTS: Six hundred and four patients with genotype 3 HCV were studied, of whom 299 were Asians. Median age was 43 years, 65% were men and 24% had cirrhosis. Overall, 457 (76%) patients achieved sustained virological response (SVR). By multivariable analysis it was found that ethnicity was not associated with an impaired response but age, cirrhosis and diabetes were significantly associated with a reduced SVR, the likelihood of a response was reduced by 25% per 10-year increment in age, by 59% among individuals with cirrhosis and by 62% among individuals with diabetes mellitus. Most patients who did not achieve an SVR relapsed (15%) rather than failing to achieve an end of treatment response.
CONCLUSION: The response to antiviral therapy in genotype 3 HCV is not affected by South Asian (vs. Caucasian) ethnicity, but age, cirrhosis and diabetes reduce the response. Treatment failure most often is due to relapse.