Randomized Trial of Peginterferon alfa-2b and Ribavirin for 48 or 72 Weeks in Patients with Hepatitis C Virus Genotype 1 and Slow Virologic Response

Liver Unit, Valle d'Hebron (Ciberehd) University Hospital, and Biomedical Research Center Network in the Area of Hepatic and Digestive Disorders of the Carlos III Health Institute, Barcelona, Spain.
Hepatology (Impact Factor: 11.19). 10/2010; 52(4):1201-7. DOI: 10.1002/hep.23816
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The benefit of extending treatment duration with peginterferon (PEG-IFN) and ribavirin (RBV) from 48 weeks to 72 weeks for patients with chronic hepatitis C genotype 1 infection has not been well established. In this prospective, international, open-label, randomized, multicenter study, 1,428 treatment-naïve patients from 133 centers were treated with PEG-IFN alfa-2b (1.5 μg/kg/week) plus RBV (800-1,400 mg/day). Patients with detectable hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA and a ≥2-log(10) drop in HCV RNA levels at week 12 (slow responders) were randomized 1:1 to receive 48 weeks (n = 86) or 72 weeks (n = 73) of treatment. Sustained virologic response (SVR) rates were 43% in slow responders treated for 48 weeks and 48% in slow responders treated for 72 weeks (P = 0.644). Relapse rates were similar in slow responders treated for 48 or 72 weeks (47% versus 33%, P = 0.169). The safety profile was similar in both treatment arms; serious adverse events leading to discontinuation of treatment were observed in 3.5% of slow responders treated for 48 weeks and 8.2% of those treated for 72 weeks. Among slow responders with a <2-log drop in HCV RNA at week 8, SVR was 39% in the 72-week arm and 19% in the 48-week arm. CONCLUSION: These data suggest that 48 weeks of therapy with PEG-IFN alfa-2b plus RBV (800-1,400 mg/day) should remain a standard-of-care treatment for treatment-naïve G1 slow responders.