Response-guided therapy for patients with hepatitis C virus genotype 6 infection: a pilot study.
Tangkijvanich P., Komolmit P., Mahachai V., Poovorawan K., Akkarathamrongsin S., Poovorawan Y.
The optimal duration of treatment with pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) plus ribavirin (RBV) in patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 6 is unknown. This study was aimed at determining treatment response on the basis of rapid virological response (RVR) of HCV genotype 6 in comparison with genotypes 1 and 3. Sixty-six treatment naïve patients were treated with PEG-IFN-α2a (180 μg/week) plus weight-based RBV (1000-1200 mg/day). Patients with genotype 1 n = 16) and genotype 3 (n = 16) were treated for a fixed duration of 48 and 24 weeks, respectively. Patients with genotype 6 (n = 34) who achieved RVR were treated for 24 weeks (response-guided therapy) and the remaining patients were treated for 48 weeks (standard therapy). The mean baseline HCV RNA levels were not statistically different between groups (6.4 ± 0.8, 6.0 ± 1.0 and 6.5 ± 0.8 Log(10) IU/mL for genotypes 1, 3 and 6, respectively). Patients with genotypes 1, 3 and 6 achieved RVR in 43.8%, 87.5% and 73.5% of cases, respectively. One patient with genotype 1 and 3 with genotype 6 were considered nonresponders and discontinued therapy. Sustained virological response (SVR) was achieved in 62.5%, 81.3% and 76.5% of patients with genotypes 1, 3 and 6, respectively. The SVR rate in patients with genotype 6 who underwent response-guided therapy was 88%. This pilot study suggested that the SVR rate of HCV genotype 6 was at an intermediate level between those of genotypes 3 and 1. Treatment with PEG-IFN plus RBV for 24 weeks may be sufficient for patients with genotype 6 who achieve RVR. Prospective randomized trials are required to evaluate this response-guided strategy in a larger number of patients with genotype 6.