Source Medizinische Klinik 1, Klinikum der J.W. Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
BACKGROUND: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA monitoring during antiviral therapy is essential for early prediction of treatment success and failure to peginterferon alfa/ribavirin (PEG-IFN/RBV) therapy.
OBJECTIVES: In this multi-center study we assessed the clinical utility of the Abbott RealTime HCV assay for monitoring patients undergoing antiviral therapy for chronic infection with HCV genotypes (GT) 1-3.
STUDY DESIGN: We analyzed serum from 361 patients with chronic hepatitis C who had been treated with PEG-IFN/RBV. The predictive value of rapid virologic response (RVR), partial (≥2log(10) decline) and complete (HCV-RNA undetectable) early virologic response (pEVR/cEVR) based on RealTime HCV for achieving sustained virologic response was evaluated. In addition, the utility of RealTime HCV to tailor treatment duration according to individual virologic responses was studied in a subset of 136 GT 1 patients and compared to the reference tests, Versant HCV Quantitative 3.0 (bDNA) and Qualitative (TMA) assay.
RESULTS: At week 4 of therapy, patients with RVR had a 100% and 93.5% probability to achieve an SVR in GT 1 and GT 2/3 patients, respectively. At week 12, patients who did not achieve a pEVR had a 97.2% and 100% probability of not achieving an SVR. In addition, assignment of GT 1 patients to abbreviated or extended treatment durations based on low baseline HCV-RNA (<800,000IU/mL) and RVR or pEVR was highly concordant between RealTime HCV and bDNA/TMA assays (97.8% and 91.9%, respectively).
CONCLUSIONS: The RealTime HCV assay is suitable for monitoring virologic response to PEG-INF/RBV therapy and tailoring treatment duration accordingly.