P Casarin

University of Padova, Padua, Veneto, Italy

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Publications (11)74.1 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Standard treatment for chronic hepatitis C currently consists of 3–6 million units (MU) of interferon-α (IFN-α) given thrice weekly (t.i.w.) for 12 months, obtaining rates of sustained response (SR) that usually do not exceed 15–25%. Some recent reports have suggested that daily administration of IFN-α may be more efficacious. More than 7 years ago, when standard therapy for hepatitis C was usually given for 6 months, we conducted a randomized clinical trial comparing daily vs t.i.w. treatment. In this study, 149 patients with chronic hepatitis C were randomized to received 3 MU of IFN-α either t.i.w. for 6 months or daily for 3 months followed by t.i.w. for 3 months. All patients were treated with human leucocyte IFN-α and were followed-up for up to 72 months after inclusion. Overall, patients treated daily or t.i.w. had similar rates of virological response after 3 months of induction [24/49 (50%) vs 40/100 (40%)], at the end of therapy [15/49 (31%) vs 36/100 (36%)] and at the end of follow-up [6/49 (12%) vs 9/100 (9%)]. However, when patients infected with HCV types other than HCV-1 were studied, there was a trend favouring the daily schedule that was associated with a higher [5/20 (25%) vs 5/48 (10%)] rate of long-term SR. All patients with a virological response – hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA negative in serum as determined using the polymerase chain reaction – at 6 months after therapy remained in biochemical and virological remission at long-term follow-up, while seven of eight subjects who had normal alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels but were serum positive for HCV RNA at 6 months, relapsed later, indicating that serum HCV RNA is better than ALT at predicting long-term cure after IFN-α therapy in chronic hepatitis C.
    Journal of Viral Hepatitis 02/2002; 6(4):321 - 327. · 3.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In chronic hepatitis C, interferon-alpha (alpha-IFN) and ribavirin combination therapy improves sustained response compared to alpha-IFN monotherapy, both in naive patients and in previous alpha-IFN relapsers, but the efficacy of such therapy remains limited in non-responder cases. The aim of this study was to assess whether the pattern of response to alpha-IFN alone may predict sustained response to combination therapy during retreatment. Fifty previous alpha-IFN relapsers and 50 previous alpha-IFN non-responders were retreated with a high alpha-IFN dose (6 MU/thrice weekly for 2 months; induction phase) and then randomised to continue with alpha-IFN alone (3 MU/thrice weekly) or to receive combination therapy (3 MU/thrice weekly of alpha-IFN and 1000-1200 mg/daily of ribavirin) for an additional 6 months according to the biochemical response to alpha-IFN shown after the induction phase. All patients were also evaluated for virological and histological response. Eleven of 25 (44%) relapsers treated with combination therapy and 4/25 (16%) treated with alpha-IFN alone achieved a sustained response. The corresponding figures among non-responders were 1/25 (4%) and 0/25, respectively. Among 26 patients with a complete ALT and HCV-RNA response after 2 months of alpha-IFN, sustained response was seen in 11/14 (79%) treated with combination therapy and in 4/12 (33%) treated with alpha-IFN alone (p=0.05). On the other hand, of 74 cases still HCV-RNA positive after 2 months of alpha-IFN alone, biochemical and virological end of therapy response was better with combination therapy (11/36; 30.5%) compared to alpha-IFN alone (4/38; 10.5%), but only one patient developed a sustained response (1/36; 3%). The retreatment with a 6-month combination therapy was associated with a high rate of sustained response only in patients showing a complete biochemical and virological response to alpha-IFN alone. Longer retreatment with combination therapy may be needed to achieve a sustained response in patients without a prompt virological response to alpha-IFN.
    Journal of Hepatology 08/2000; 33(1):128-34. · 9.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background/Aims: In chronic hepatitis C, interferon-alpha (α-IFN) and ribavirin combination therapy improves sustained response compared to α-IFN monotherapy, both in naive patients and in previous α-IFN relapsers, but the efficacy of such therapy remains limited in non-responder cases. The aim of this study was to assess whether the pattern of response to α-IFN alone may predict sustained response to combination therapy during retreatment.Methods: Fifty previous α-IFN relapsers and 50 previous α-IFN non-responders were retreated with a high α-IFN dose (6 MU/thrice weekly for 2 months; induction phase) and then randomised to continue with α-IFN alone (3 MU/thrice weekly) or to receive combination therapy (3 MU/thrice weekly of α-IFN and 1000–1200 mg/daily of ribavirin) for an additional 6 months according to the biochemical response to α-IFN shown after the induction phase. All patients were also evaluated for virological and histological response.Results: Eleven of 25 (44%) relapsers treated with combination therapy and 4/25 (16%) treated with α-IFN alone achieved a sustained response. The corresponding figures among non-responders were 1/25 (4%) and 0/25, respectively. Among 26 patients with a complete ALT and HCV-RNA response after 2 months of α-IFN, sustained response was seen in 11/14 (79%) treated with combination therapy and in 4/12 (33%) treated with α-IFN alone (p=0.05). On the other hand, of 74 cases still HCV-RNA positive after 2 months of α-IFN alone, biochemical and virological end of therapy response was better with combination therapy (11/36; 30.5%) compared to α-IFN alone (4/38; 10.5%), but only one patient developed a sustained response (1/36; 3%).Conclusions: The retreatment with a 6-month combination therapy was associated with a high rate of sustained response only in patients showing a complete biochemical and virological response to α-IFN alone. Longer retreatment with combination therapy may be needed to achieve a sustained response in patients without a prompt virological response to α-IFN.
    Journal of Hepatology - J HEPATOL. 01/2000; 33(1):128-134.
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    ABSTRACT: Standard treatment for chronic hepatitis C currently consists of 3-6 million units (MU) of interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) given thrice weekly (t.i.w.) for 12 months, obtaining rates of sustained response (SR) that usually do not exceed 15-25%. Some recent reports have suggested that daily administration of IFN-alpha may be more efficacious. More than 7 years ago, when standard therapy for hepatitis C was usually given for 6 months, we conducted a randomized clinical trial comparing daily vs t.i.w. treatment. In this study, 149 patients with chronic hepatitis C were randomized to received 3 MU of IFN-alpha either t.i.w. for 6 months or daily for 3 months followed by t.i.w. for 3 months. All patients were treated with human leucocyte IFN-alpha and were followed-up for up to 72 months after inclusion. Overall, patients treated daily or t.i.w. had similar rates of virological response after 3 months of induction [24/49 (50%) vs 40/100 (40%)], at the end of therapy [15/49 (31%) vs 36/100 (36%)] and at the end of follow-up [6/49 (12%) vs 9/100 (9%)]. However, when patients infected with HCV types other than HCV-1 were studied, there was a trend favouring the daily schedule that was associated with a higher [5/20 (25%) vs 5/48 (10%)] rate of long-term SR. All patients with a virological response - hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA negative in serum as determined using the polymerase chain reaction - at 6 months after therapy remained in biochemical and virological remission at long-term follow-up, while seven of eight subjects who had normal alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels but were serum positive for HCV RNA at 6 months, relapsed later, indicating that serum HCV RNA is better than ALT at predicting long-term cure after IFN-alpha therapy in chronic hepatitis C.
    Journal of Viral Hepatitis 07/1999; 6(4):321-7. · 3.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Approximately 75%-85% of patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection do not have a sustained response when treated with interferon (IFN). Limited information exists on the efficacy of retreatment with IFN alone in these patients. The aim of this study was to define the efficacy of IFN retreatment in chronic hepatitis C. Ninety-two patients with chronic hepatitis C who had shown transient or no response to recombinant IFN-alpha were randomly retreated with different schedules of lymphoblastoid IFN-alpha and followed up for 12 months after therapy to define biochemical and virological response. None of 26 initial nonresponders obtained a sustained response with retreatment, independent of the schedule used. Thirteen of 66 patients (20%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 10.9-31.3) with transient response during the primary cycle developed a sustained biochemical and virological response when retreated, including 3 of 41 (7%; 95% CI, 1.5-9.9) of those receiving the same schedule and 10 of 25 (40%; 95% CI, 21.1-61.3; P < 0.004) of those retreated with a higher dosage and for a longer period. Shorter disease duration (P = 0.02), higher alanine aminotransferase (P = 0.002) and lower gamma-glutamyltransferase levels (P = 0.004), HCV genotype other than HCV-1 (P = 0.03), and a negative serum HCV-RNA test at the end of the primary cycle (P = 0.000) were associated with sustained response. Patients with chronic hepatitis C who have a relapse after a complete response to a 6-month IFN-alpha treatment should be retreated for 12 months. Nonresponders should not be retreated with IFN alone.
    Gastroenterology 11/1997; 113(5):1654-9. · 12.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In chronic hepatitis C (HCV) infection, treatment with interferon is associated with a rather low rate of sustained response and many treated patients do not achieve significant benefit. Efforts have therefore been made to identify non-responders as early as possible to avoid unjustified costs and side-effects. We treated 106 cases of HCV with an algorithm based on the results of sequential alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and HCV RNA determinations, using an initial dose of 6 MU thrice weekly for 4 months, and modified the subsequent treatment according to the biochemical and virological profile. Thirty-three out of 48 patients (68.7%) who were HCV RNA negative with normal ALT at 4 months after initiation of treatment were sustained responders when treated for an additional 4-month period with a reduced 3 MU dose, while sustained response was achieved in 12.5% of HCV RNA positive patients treated with a higher dosage and for a more prolonged period of time. Our findings indicate that HCV RNA monitoring during interferon therapy may be useful in modifying of the treatment schedule for the individual patient.
    Journal of Viral Hepatitis 04/1997; 4(2):107-12. · 3.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alpha-interferon (IFN-alpha) is an effective treatment for chronic hepatitis C, but only 20% to 30% of patients are apparently cured with the current recommended schedule of 3 MU given three times a week for 6 months. To evaluate the efficacy of more aggressive treatment regimens, we have conducted a randomized trial in 174 patients with chronic hepatitis C using three different schedules: (1) 12-month treatment starting with 6 MU/ three times a week and decreasing the dose on the basis of serum alanine transaminase (ALT) activities (group A: 59 cases); (2) fixed dose of 3 MU three times a week for 12 months (Group B: 61 cases), (3) fixed dose of 6 MU three times of week for 6 months (Group C: 54 cases). Patients were evaluated during therapy for biochemical and virological response and followed for at least 12 months after therapy to assess long-term efficacy and liver histological outcome. The genotype of infecting HCV was also analyzed in all patients, and predictors of response were determined by multivariate analysis. Serum ALT became normal during therapy in 76% of patients (95% confidence interval [CI]: 63 to 86), 65% (CI: 52 to 77), and 74% (CI: 60 to 85) in groups A, B, and C, respectively (P = NS). The corresponding figures for sustained response 12 months after therapy were 49% (CI: 36 to 62), 31% (CI: 20 to 44), and 28% (CI: 16 to 42)(A vs. B, P = .06; A vs. C, P = 0.03). Eighty-six percent of patients with sustained response cleared HCV-RNA from serum, and 72% improved histologically.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
    Hepatology 10/1995; 22(3):700-6. · 12.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alpha-interferon (IFN-α) is an effective treatment for chronic hepatitis C, but only 20% to 30% of patients are apparently cured with the currently recommended schedule of 3 MU given three times a week for 6 months. To evaluate the efficacy of more aggressive treatment regimens, we have conducted a randomized trial in 174 patients with chronic hepatitis C using three different schedules: (1) 12-month treatment starting with 6 MU/three times a week and decreasing the dose on the basis of serum alanine transaminase (ALT) activities (group A: 59 cases); (2) fixed dose of 3 MU three times a week for 12 months (Group B: 61 cases), (3) fixed dose of 6 MU three times a week for 6 months (Group C: 54 cases). Patients were evaluated during therapy for biochemical and virological response and followed for at least 12 months after therapy to assess long-term efficacy and liver histological outcome. The genotype of infecting HCV was also analyzed in all patients, and predictors of response were determined by multivariate analysis. Serum ALT became normal during therapy in 76% of patients (95% confidence interval [CI]: 63 to 86), 65% (CI: 52 to 77), and 74% (CI: 60 to 85) in groups A, B, and C, respectively (P = NS). The corresponding figures for sustained response 12 months after therapy were 49% (CI: 36 to 62), 31% (CI: 20 to 44), and 28% (CI: 16 to 42) (A vs. B, P = .06; A vs. C,P = 0.03). Eighty-six percent of patients with sustained response cleared HCV-RNA from serum, and 72% improved histologically. Patients infected with HCV genotypes 2a and 3 had higher sustained response rates than those with Ib, independent of treatment schedule. In patients infected with genotype 1b, the rate of sustained response was related to dose and duration of therapy being 28% with schedule A, 16% with schedule B, and 9% with schedule C. Multivariate analysis indicated that younger age (P = .016), shorter disease duration (P = .003), and infection with HCV genotypes 2a (P = .0017) and 3 (P = .0083) were independent predictors of sustained response. These results indicate that sustained response to IFN-α in chronic hepatitis C is affected by dose and duration of therapy, particularly in patients infected with HCV genotype 1b. (Hepatology 1995; 22:700–706.)
    Hepatology 08/1995; 22(3):700 - 706. · 12.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Three main patterns of response are seen when interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) is used for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C: 1 sustained response with alanine-aminotransferase (ALT) normalization that is maintained after cessation of therapy, with or without clearance of serum hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA; 2 transient response with ALT normalization during therapy followed by relapse after its withdrawal, and 3 no response with no or only partial reduction in ALT levels. In order to define variables that could predict each of these three types of response we studied 321 cases of chronic hepatitis C treated with IFN-alpha in two consecutive trials conducted in our Unit. By univariate analysis, age < 45 years (P < 0.01), known disease duration < 60 months (P < 0.01), normal gamma-glutamyl-transpeptidase (gamma GT) levels (P < 0.01) and infection by HCV genotype 2 or HCV genotype 3 (P < 0.01) were found to be statistically associated with sustained response while age > 45 years (P < 0.01), body weight (P = 0.05), cirrhosis (P < 0.01) and elevated gamma GT levels (P < 0.01) were associated with no response. By multivariate analysis sustained response was predicted by HCV genotype 2 (P < 0.01) and HCV genotype 3 (P < 0.01), known disease duration (P < 0.01), patient's age (P < 0.05) and associated with the use of a more aggressive treatment schedule (P < 0.05). Transient response with relapse was predicted by known duration of disease (P < 0.05), HCV genotype 1 (P < 0.05) and female sex (P < 0.05). No response was statistically associated with elevated gamma GT levels (P < 0.01), higher body weight (P < 0.05) and with the less aggressive regimen of 3 MU of natural IFN-alpha given three times weekly for 6 months (P < 0.05). These results indicate that the HCV genotype as well as the schedule of treatment greatly affect the pattern of response to IFN in chronic hepatitis C and allow us to define criteria to predict which type of response is more likely in individual patients.
    Journal of Viral Hepatitis 01/1995; 2(2):91-6. · 3.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: . Three main patterns of response are seen when interferon-α (IFN-α) is used for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C:1 sustained response with alanine-aminotransferase (ALT) normalization that is maintained after cessation of therapy, with or without clearance of serum hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA;2 transient response with ALT normalization during therapy followed by relapse after its withdrawal, and3 no response with no or only partial reduction in ALT levels.In order to define variables that could predict each of these three types of response we studied 321 cases of chronic hepatitis C treated with IFN-α in two consecutive trials conducted in our Unit. By univariate analysis, age < 45 years (P < 0.01), known disease duration < 60 months (P < 0.01), normal gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase (γGT) levels (P < 0.01) and infection by HCV genotype 2 or HCV genotype 3 (P < 0.01) were found to be statistically associated with sustained response while age > 45 years (P < 0.01), body weight (P= 0.05), cirrhosis (P < 0.01) and elevated γGT levels (P < 0.01) were associated with no response. By multivariate analysis sustained response was predicted by HCV genotype 2 (P < 0.01) and HCV genotype 3 (P < 0.01), known disease duration (P < 0.01), patient's age (P < 0.05) and associated with the use of a more aggressive treatment schedule (P < 0.05). Transient response with relapse was predicted by known duration of disease (P < 0.05), HCV genotype 1 (P < 0.05) and female sex (P < 0.05). No response was statistically associated with elevated γGT levels (P < 0.01), higher body weight (P < 0.05) and with the less aggressive regimen of 3 MU of natural IFN-α given three times weekly for 6 months (P < 0.05).These results indicate that the HCV genotype as well as the schedule of treatment greatly affect the pattern of response to IFN in chronic hepatitis C and allow us to define criteria to predict which type of response is more likely in individual patients.
    Journal of Viral Hepatitis 01/1995; 2(2):91-96. · 3.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with hepatitis C virus infection may have circulating antibodies to various structural and nonstructural antigens of the virus. To assess whether the antibody profile is related to epidemiological or clinical features of chronic infection or to viral replication, sera from 172 consecutive patients with biopsy-proven chronic non-A, non-B hepatitis were studied for antibodies to nonstructural and structural hepatitis C virus antigens and for serum hepatitis C virus RNA with the polymerase chain reaction using primers derived from the 5' noncoding region. Three subgroups could be identified on the basis of their seroreactivity to hepatitis C virus: 133 cases (77.3% [group A]) were positive on first- and second-generation assays and had antibodies to C100-3 and to C22, C33c or both identified on recombinant immunoblot assay; 23 cases (13.4% [group B]) were positive only on second-generation assay and reacted with C22, C33c or both but not with C100-3; and 26 cases (9.3% [group C]) were negative for all hepatitis C virus antibodies. Mean age and sex distributions were similar among the three groups; a history of transfusion was more frequent among cases in group B (p = 0.06). These patients also had the highest serum aminotransferase values (p = 0.001). Liver histological studies showed active necroinflammatory changes in 69.2% of patients in group A and 52.2% of those in group B but only in 25% of cases in group C. Serum hepatitis C virus RNA was frequently detected in patients of groups A and B, independent of their recombinant immunoblot assay profiles.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
    Hepatology 03/1993; 17(2):179-82. · 12.00 Impact Factor