Aim: Patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 2 are more sensitive to interferon (IFN) therapy than those infected with genotype 1, but 10-20% of patients do not achieve a sustained viral response (SVR) to combination therapy with pegylated (PEG) IFN and ribavirin (RBV). This study examines the prognostic factors associated with SVR in patients infected with HCV genotype 2 treated with PEG IFN and RBV.
Methods: We treated 149 patients with chronic hepatitis C caused by HCV genotype 2. The patients received s.c. PEG IFN-α-2b (1.5 µg/kg) and a weekly weight-adjusted dose of RBV (600, 800 and 1000 mg per <60, 60-80 and >80 kg, respectively) for 24 weeks and then prognostic factors associated with the SVR were examined.
Results: Among the 149 patients, 138 completed the combination therapy and a sustained viral response was achieved in 71.8% of them. Univariate analysis showed that age, as well as mean RBV and PEG IFN doses were factors affecting the SVR (P = 0.012, =0.021, =0.014). Multivariate analysis identified age and mean PEG IFN dose (P = 0.021, =0.018, respectively) as factors involved in the SVR, but not mean RBV dose.
Conclusion: The SVR of patients infected with HCV genotype 2 depended on the dosage of PEG IFN, but not of RBV. Selecting sufficient doses of PEG IFN for combination with RBV is critical for treating such patients.