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      Real world experience with pegylated interferon and ribavirin in hepatitis C genotype 1 population with favourable IL28B polymorphism

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          Background and aim: Conventional hepatitis C treatment using pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) and ribavirin is associated with significant side effects. IL28B polymorphism can predict response to treatment, with CC genotype having a better response. ITPA gene deficiency protects against clinically significant anaemia induced by treatment. The purpose of this study was to determine IL28B polymorphism and ITPA variation among hepatitis C genotype 1 patients who have undergone therapy with PEG-IFN and ribavirin and their association with sustained viral response (SVR).

          Methods: All hepatitis C genotype 1 patients who had been treated with PEG-IFN and ribavirin over the past 10 years were identified by available medical records and were contacted by letter of invitation to participate in the study. Blood samples for IL28B and ITPA genotyping were obtained. Medical records were reviewed for verification of treatment response, development of anaemia and if treatment reduction was required during the treatment.

          Results: A total of 61 patients with hepatitis C genotype 1 were treated with PEG-IFN and ribavirin, of whom 42 agreed to participate in the study. Mean age was 45.6±12.9 years at time of treatment, and 83.3% of patients were males. Thirty-three (78.6%) had IL28B CC genotype, of whom 25 (75.8%) obtained SVR compared with only 3 of 9 (33.3%) non C/C genotype patients who achieved SVR ( P=0.041). Eleven (26.1%) patients had ITPA AC genotype, and 30 (71.4%) had CC genotype. There was no statistically significant difference between ITPA AC and CC genotypes in predicting clinically significant anaemia (45.5% vs 63.3%, P=0.302). Even among patients who developed anaemia, 70.8% still managed to achieve SVR. Treatment reduction also had no impact on SVR.

          Conclusion: Hepatitis C genotype 1 patients should be informed of the response rate for treatment with PEG-IFN and ribavirin in a population with favourable IL28B genotype before consideration of newer therapeutic options.

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          Genetic variation in IL28B predicts hepatitis C treatment-induced viral clearance.

          Chronic infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) affects 170 million people worldwide and is the leading cause of cirrhosis in North America. Although the recommended treatment for chronic infection involves a 48-week course of peginterferon-alpha-2b (PegIFN-alpha-2b) or -alpha-2a (PegIFN-alpha-2a) combined with ribavirin (RBV), it is well known that many patients will not be cured by treatment, and that patients of European ancestry have a significantly higher probability of being cured than patients of African ancestry. In addition to limited efficacy, treatment is often poorly tolerated because of side effects that prevent some patients from completing therapy. For these reasons, identification of the determinants of response to treatment is a high priority. Here we report that a genetic polymorphism near the IL28B gene, encoding interferon-lambda-3 (IFN-lambda-3), is associated with an approximately twofold change in response to treatment, both among patients of European ancestry (P = 1.06 x 10(-25)) and African-Americans (P = 2.06 x 10(-3)). Because the genotype leading to better response is in substantially greater frequency in European than African populations, this genetic polymorphism also explains approximately half of the difference in response rates between African-Americans and patients of European ancestry.
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            Genome-wide association of IL28B with response to pegylated interferon-alpha and ribavirin therapy for chronic hepatitis C.

            The recommended treatment for patients with chronic hepatitis C, pegylated interferon-alpha (PEG-IFN-alpha) plus ribavirin (RBV), does not provide sustained virologic response (SVR) in all patients. We report a genome-wide association study (GWAS) to null virological response (NVR) in the treatment of patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1 within a Japanese population. We found two SNPs near the gene IL28B on chromosome 19 to be strongly associated with NVR (rs12980275, P = 1.93 x 10(-13), and rs8099917, 3.11 x 10(-15)). We replicated these associations in an independent cohort (combined P values, 2.84 x 10(-27) (OR = 17.7; 95% CI = 10.0-31.3) and 2.68 x 10(-32) (OR = 27.1; 95% CI = 14.6-50.3), respectively). Compared to NVR, these SNPs were also associated with SVR (rs12980275, P = 3.99 x 10(-24), and rs8099917, P = 1.11 x 10(-27)). In further fine mapping of the region, seven SNPs (rs8105790, rs11881222, rs8103142, rs28416813, rs4803219, rs8099917 and rs7248668) located in the IL28B region showed the most significant associations (P = 5.52 x 10(-28)-2.68 x 10(-32); OR = 22.3-27.1). Real-time quantitative PCR assays in peripheral blood mononuclear cells showed lower IL28B expression levels in individuals carrying the minor alleles (P = 0.015).
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              IL28B is associated with response to chronic hepatitis C interferon-alpha and ribavirin therapy.

              Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects 3% of the world's population. Treatment of chronic HCV consists of a combination of PEGylated interferon-alpha (PEG-IFN-alpha) and ribavirin (RBV). To identify genetic variants associated with HCV treatment response, we conducted a genome-wide association study of sustained virological response (SVR) to PEG-IFN-alpha/RBV combination therapy in 293 Australian individuals with genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C, with validation in an independent replication cohort consisting of 555 individuals. We report an association to SVR within the gene region encoding interleukin 28B (IL28B, also called IFNlambda3; rs8099917 combined P = 9.25 x 10(-9), OR = 1.98, 95% CI = 1.57-2.52). IL28B contributes to viral resistance and is known to be upregulated by interferons and by RNA virus infection. These data suggest that host genetics may be useful for the prediction of drug response, and they also support the investigation of the role of IL28B in the treatment of HCV and in other diseases treated with IFN-alpha.

                Author and article information

                Gastroenterol Rep (Oxf)
                Gastroenterol Rep (Oxf)
                Gastroenterology Report
                Oxford University Press
                August 2017
                24 October 2016
                24 October 2016
                : 5
                : 3
                : 208-212
                [1 ]Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore
                [2 ]Department of Clinical Translational Research, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore
                [3 ]Department of Pharmacy, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore
                [4 ]Health Products Regulation Group, Health Sciences Authority, Singapore
                [5 ]Emerging Infectious Disease Programme, Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore
                [6 ]Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Changi General Hospital, Singapore
                Author notes
                [* ] Corresponding author. Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Singapore General Hospital, Outram Road Singapore 169608, Singapore. Tel: +65-98774539; E-mail: vekstrom@
                © The Author(s) 2016. Published by Oxford University Press and Sixth Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact

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