Genetic variation in STAT4 is associated with treatment response to pegylated interferon in patients with chronic hepatitis B.
Limothai U., Chuaypen N., Poovorawan K., Poovorawan Y., Tangkijvanich P.
BackgroundSignaling pathways in the STAT4 gene play an essential role in interferon-mediated antiviral effects.ObjectiveThis study was aimed at investigating the role of rs7574865, a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in STAT4, in patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB) treated with pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN).MethodsA total 261 Thai patients (115 HBeAg-positive and 146 HBeAg-negative CHB) treated with 48-week PEG-IFN were recruited. Virological response (VR) at 48 weeks post treatment was defined as HBeAg seroconversion plus HBV DNA < 2,000 IU/mL for HBeAg-positive CHB and HBV DNA < 2,000 IU/mL for HBeAg-negative CHB. The SNP was analyzed by TaqMan PCR assay.ResultsThe distribution of GG, GT and TT genotypes of rs7574865 was 41.8%, 42.9% and 15.3%, respectively. There was no different in its distribution according to HBeAg status. Overall, patients with TT genotype, compared with non-TT genotype, achieved higher VR (64.3% vs. 30.5%; P < 0.001) and HBsAg clearance (23.8% vs. 5.0%; P < 0.001). There was the same trend in the HBeAg-positive group (VR, 52.4% vs. 30.9%; P = 0.077; HBsAg clearance, 23.8% vs. 6.4%; P = 0.028) and in the HBeAg-negative group (VR, 68.4% vs. 32.3%; P = 0.004; HBsAg clearance, 21.1% vs. 4.7%; P = 0.026). Multiple regression analysis demonstrated that low baseline HBsAg level and TT genotype were factors independently associated with VR and HBsAg clearance.ConclusionsOur data support that SNP rs7574865 is associated with response to PEG-IFN therapy in Thai patients with CHB, regardless of baseline HBeAg status. Thus, the determination of this SNP could maximize cost-effectiveness of PEGIFN in patients with CHB.