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Reuters Health Information (2008-04-25): Serum uric acid tied to HCV interferon response


Serum uric acid tied to HCV interferon response

Last Updated: 2008-04-25 18:06:43 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Elevated serum levels of uric acid are predictive of a poor response to interferon treatment in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, according to Italian researchers.

"The objective of this study," lead investigator Dr. Rinaldo Pellicano told Reuters Health, "was to evaluate retrospectively the effect of uric acid level in serum as a predictive factor of sustained virological response in a series of patients suffering from chronic HCV treated with pegylated interferon plus ribavirin."

"Uric acid," he added, is "mostly metabolized in the liver, and increases in subjects suffering from metabolic syndrome. To date, it is still unclear whether uric acid can modify the outcome of antiviral treatment."

In the April issue of the Journal of Medical Virology, Dr. Pellicano of San Giovanni Battista (Molinette) Hospital in Torino and colleagues studied data on 153 HCV-infected patients treated with pegylated interferon plus ribavirin. The patients had a mean serum uric acid level of 5.05 mg/dL.

Six months after the end of treatment, 102 of the patients (67%) showed a sustained virological response. The team found that a baseline uric acid level of 5.8 mg/dL or more was an independent predictor of poor clinical outcome.

In a subgroup of patients, fibrosis scores also showed a strong relationship with uric acid levels. Among other important predictors of outcome were viral load and HCV genotype.

As opposed to fixed factors which have an impact on response to therapy, such as viral genotype, continued Dr. Pellicano, "others are modifiable."

"If confirmed by prospective studies," he concluded, "the early control of uric acid levels could represent a plausible option in patients with chronic HCV included in protocols of treatment with interferon plus ribavirin."

J Med Virol 2008;80:628-631.

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