, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 384-391

Comparison of HCV RNA Levels by Branched DNA Probe Assay and by Competitive Polymerase Chain Reaction to Predict Effectiveness of Interferon Treatment for Patients with Chronic Hepatitis C Virus

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To compare hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA levelsdetermined by branched DNA probe assay and bycompetitive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) aspredictive markers of the response to interferon fortreatment of patients with chronic HCV infection, westudied data on 140 patients treated for six months withnatural interferon-alpha. Serum samples were tested forHCV RNA by PCR. HCV RNA was grouped into four genotypes by PCR with type-specific primers,and HCV RNA level was measured by branched DNA probeassay and by competitive PCR. HCV RNA was detected inall patients prior to initiation of the treatment. A complete response, sustained elimination ofHCV RNA, occurred in 51 patients (36.4%). With multiplelogistic regression analysis assessment, when usingcompetitive PCR, a low level of HCV RNA (P < 0.0001), younger age (P = 0.0054) and genotype 2a and 2b(P < 0.0158) were significant predictive markers fora complete response to interferon treatment. When usingbranched DNA probe assay, a low level of HCV RNA (P < 0.0001) and age (P = 0.0089) werepredictive markers, but genotype was not. The branchedDNA probe assay had a narrower linear range forquantitation of HCV RNA level than competitive PCR. In conclusion, HCV RNA level determined bybranched DNA probe assay proved to be useful forprediction of effects of interferon and it is costeffective as a marker of complete response to interferontreatment for patients with chronic HCVinfection.