, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 140-145

Intensive Interferon Therapy Does Not Increase Virological Response Rates in African Americans with Chronic Hepatitis C

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To determine if an intensive regimen of daily, high-dose interferon would improve the initial response rates to therapy for hepatitis C genotype 1 among African American and Caucasian patients, we conducted a retrospective analysis of a treatment trial conducted between October 1995 and June 1997. Patients were randomized to 24 weeks of therapy with interferon −α-2b at either 5 MU daily or 3 MU three times a week. On the standard interferon regimen (3 MU three times a week) African Americans and Caucasians had similar initial response rates. However, unlike Caucasians, African Americans did not have an increased initial virological response when treated with an intensive, daily dose regimen. Levels of HCV RNA decreased more slowly during the first 12 weeks of therapy among African Americans. Nelson-Aalen cumulative hazard estimates for the different race and dose combinations revealed that Caucasians who received daily interferon were most likely to have an initial response (logrank, P < 0.001).