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Original article

Amino acid substitutions in core and NS5A regions of the HCV genome can predict virological decrease with pegylated interferon plus ribavirin therapy

Shosuke Kitamura, Masataka Tsuge, Tsuyoshi Hatakeyama, Hiromi Abe, Michio Imamura, Nami Mori, Hiromi Saneto, Tomokazu Kawaoka, Fukiko Mitsui, Nobuhiko Hiraga, Shintaro Takaki, Yoshiiku Kawakami, Hiroshi Aikata, Shoichi Takahashi, Waka Ohishi, Hidenori Ochi, C Nelson Hayes, Kazuaki Chayama

Corresponding author name: Kazuaki Chayama
Corresponding author e-mail: chayama@hiroshima-u.ac.jp

Citation: Antiviral Therapy 2010; 15:1087-1097
doi: 10.3851/IMP1674

Date accepted: 04 May 2010
Date published online: 18 October 2010

Abstract

Background: The current standard therapy for chronic hepatitis C is pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) plus ribavirin (RBV) combination therapy. Recently, it has been reported that amino acid (aa) substitutions in the core region, as well as the IFN-sensitivity-determining region (ISDR), were predictive of non-virological response (NVR), sustained virological response (SVR) and early virological response. Despite the importance of these two predictive factors for combination therapy, their interaction is poorly understood.

Methods: A total of 117 patients who were treated with PEG-IFN-α2b plus RBV combination therapy were selected for participation in this study. We determined the aa sequences in the core region and ISDR by direct sequencing and analysed them along with clinical data to indentify predictive factors for therapeutic response.

Results: The aa sequences in the core region and γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (GTP) levels were associated with SVR and NVR, but aa sequences in the ISDR were not. However, substitutions at both aa 70 and aa 91 in the core region without substitutions in the ISDR and higher levels of γ-GTP were independent predictive factors for NVR. Wild-type aa 70 and aa 91 in the core region, higher platelet counts and lower levels of γ-GTP were independent predictive factors for SVR.

Conclusions: These results indicate that analyses of aa substitutions in both the core region and the ISDR are useful for predicting the effectiveness of combination therapy, and could help to avoid therapy exposure for patients who have a low probability of SVR.

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