Interferon monotherapy effective in patients with HCV thalassemia major

Interferon alfa-2b or pegylated interferon-alfa-2b monotherapies were effective treatment options in patients with hepatitis C virus thalassemia major, according to study results.

“IL28B genotype was a strong predictor for sustained virological response, together with splenectomy, age and fibrosis,” Maria Kalafateli, MD, of the department of gastroenterology at the University Hospital of Patras, Greece, and colleagues wrote.

The long-term effect of IFN-a-2b or PEG-IFN-a-2b monotherapy in patients infected with HCV thalassemia major remains uncertain. For this reason, Kalafateli and colleagues sought to assess the use of standard IFN-a-2b monotherapy in 34 patients compared with PEG-IFN-a-2b monotherapy in 14 patients. Median follow-up was 165.5 months and included 19 males; the average age of all patients was 22 years.

Study results indicated that 31.3% achieved SVR after the first round of treatment; 37.5% achieved SVR after multiple treatment rounds.

Negative predictors for SVR after the first round of treatment were splenectomy (P = .01) and a fibrosis grade greater than or equal to 4 (P < .05). After multiple rounds of treatment, splenectomy (P < .05) and those aged older than18 years were negative predictors for SVR (P < .02).

Compared with 50% of HCV genotype 1 or 4 patients with the CC genotype that achieved SVR, no patients with CT or TT IL28B genotypes achieved SVR (P = .004).

“The main finding of this cohort, observational study was the achievement of SVR in 37.5% of HCV-infected patients with thalassemia major treated with one or multiple courses of IFN/PEG-IFN monotherapy,” the researchers wrote. “Predictive factors for treatment failure were older age, splenectomy and advanced fibrosis in liver histology, as reported in previous studies.” – by Jennifer Southall



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