Monitoring of patients with sustained virological response treated with standard or pegylated interferon in combination with ribavirin for chronic hepatitis C

Hippokratia 2006, 10(1):32-34

M Raptopoulou, M Sinakos, H Orfanou, Th Lalla, H Gigi
2nd Dpt Internal Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece


Background-Aims: Sustained virological response (SVR) is defined as undetectable HCV-RNA at the end of 24 weeks of follow-up after treatment. This study aimed to determine the durability of this response beyond this time period and the long term management of patients with chronic hepatitis C.
Methods: We retrospectively analyzed viral response to treatment with either standard or pegylated interferon in combination with ribavirin in 63 patients followed-up for 3-65 months after the completion of 6 months follow-up. HCV-RNA was determined by polymerase chain reaction at baseline, week 12, end of treatment and every 3 months thereafter.
Results: End of treatment virologic response (ETVR) was achieved in 43/63 patients. Concerning sustained response 6 patients were lost during follow-up and 11 / 37 – 10 / 11 with genotype 1- relapsed at week 12. No more patient relapsed until the end of the 24-week follow-up. All patients with SVR (n=26) (8 with genotype 1, 1 with genotype 2, 15 with genotype 3 and 1 with genotype 4) retained the SVR during the long term follow-up except for one with genotype 3 who relapsed two years after cessation of treatment.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that patients with chronic hepatitis C receiving combination therapy usually re-lapse during the first 12 weeks of follow-up. Relapse is extremely rare there after. Thus, measurement of HCV-RNA at week 12 of follow-up can safely predict persistent virologic response to treatment.