, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 22-30,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 27 Oct 2012

Host factors determining the efficacy of hepatitis C treatment


Combination therapy with pegylated interferon and ribavirin is the standard of care (SOC) for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C (CHC). Treating CHC with SOC may show a sustained virological response (SVR) in approximately 50–70 % of genotype 1 CHC patients and an SVR in 70–90 % of genotype 2 CHC patients. The genotype, baseline viral load, and viral kinetics (i.e., rapid virologic response and early virologic response) can be used as predictors of response-guided therapy. Nonetheless, host factors, e.g. age, ethnicity, insulin resistance, and genetic variations, may also play important roles in the SVR in CHC patients treated with SOC. Recent genome-wide association studies have demonstrated that single-nucleotide polymorphisms near the interleukin 28B gene (IL28B) were associated with SVR to treatment with SOC in CHC patients. The IL28B polymorphisms may contribute to the viral kinetics during treatment. Asian people have favorable IL28B polymorphisms. This factor may at least partly explain the high eradication rate of hepatitis C by SOC in Asia. Combination therapy with direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) and SOC can increase the SVR rates both in treatment-naïve and treatment-experienced patients. Although the IL28B polymorphisms also affect the SVR of triple therapy with SOC and first-generation protease inhibitors, pilot studies have demonstrated that potent DAAs might overcome the influence of IL28B polymorphisms. Thus, the treatment of hepatitis C virus infection could be simplified in the near future.