Asian patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC) are known to have better virological responses to pegylated (Peg) IFN-based therapy than Western patients. Although IL28B gene polymorphisms may contribute to this difference, whether favorable hepatitis C virus (HCV) kinetics during treatment plays a role remains unclear. We enrolled 145 consecutive Taiwanese patients with CHC receiving Peg-IFN α-2a plus ribavirin for the study. Blood samples were taken more frequently at defined intervals in the first 3 d. Peg-IFN was administered at week 1. It was then administered weekly in combination with daily ribavirin for 24 or 48 wk. A mathematical model fitted to the observed HCV kinetics was constructed, which could interpret the transient HCV titer elevation after Peg-IFN treatment. The results demonstrated a comparable viral clearance rate (c = 3.45 ± 3.73) (day−1, mean ± SD) but lower daily viral production rate (P = 106–1012) in our patients than those reported previously in Western patients. Of 110 patients with a sustained virological response (SVR), 47 (43%) had a transient elevation of viral titer within 12 h (proportion of 12 h/3 d: 44% in non-SVR vs. 70% in SVR; P = 0.029). Among 91 patients with available rs8099917 data, patients with the TT genotype had an early surge of viral titer after therapy and a higher SVR and viral clearance rate than those with the GT genotype. In conclusion, Taiwanese patients with CHC receiving Peg-IFN plus ribavirin therapy have a lower daily viral production rate than Western patients, and the rs8099917 TT genotype may contribute to the increased viral clearance rate and better virological responses in these patients.
Natural Sciences in General