[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: HCV genotypes 2- or 3-infected patients with a rapid virological response (RVR) to therapy with pegylated interferon and ribavirins who have a low viral load, noncirrhotic and nonobese may be considered for a shorter course of treatment. However, no studies have assessed host-viral factors associated with relapse in genotype 2 and 3 separately. Accordingly, we assessed whether 12 weeks of pegylated interferon and ribavirin was an optimized regimen for treatment of HCV genotype 2 and 3 with positive predictors of response. Power and sample size were a priori calculated and 96 consecutive chronic hepatitis C patients (53, genotype 2 and 43, genotype 3) without cirrhosis who were not obese and who achieved a RVR to therapy with peg-IFN-α-2a and ribavirin were enrolled. Fibrosis, steatosis, homeostatic model assessment-insulin resistance and HCV RNA were predefined variables to be evaluated in relapse. An intention-to-treat analysis was performed. SVR rates were 98% and 84% for genotype 2 and 3, respectively. Analysis of genotype 3 patients who had relapse showed a negative correlation with steatosis (P < 0.0001) and HCV RNA (P < 0.015). Multivariate analysis showed that steatosis was the independent predictor of relapse (OR, 0.988; 95% CI, 0.981-0.993; P < 0.001). Genotype 3 patients with steatosis had a relapse rate of 36.4% and 15.8% in those with high and low viral load, respectively, whereas there was no relapse in those without steatosis. In conclusion, a 12-week course of therapy is sufficient for patients without cirrhosis, not obese and infected with HCV genotype 2 achieve a RVR. This is not the case for genotype 3. Steatosis is the independent predictor of relapse. New therapeutic strategies are necessary for this subgroup of HCV genotype 3.
No preview · Article · May 2012 · Journal of Viral Hepatitis
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: HCV and NAFLD are associated with atherosclerosis in general population. The prevalence of atherosclerosis in chronic hepatitis C (CHC) patients is unknown. We hypothesized that HCV per se and HCV-related steatosis could favour atherosclerosis. Thus, in CHC patients we assessed: (a) the prevalence of atherosclerosis; (b) the role of HCV, cardio-metabolic risk factors and hepatic histology.
Overall, 803 subjects were enrolled: (A) 326 patients with liver biopsy-proven treatment naive CHC (175 with and 151 without steatosis); (B) 477 age and gender matched controls, including 292 healthy subjects without steatosis (B1) and 185 with NAFLD (B2). Carotid atherosclerosis (CA), assessed by high-resolution B-mode ultrasonography, was categorized as either intima-media thickness (IMT: >1mm) or plaques (≥ 1.5mm).
CHC patients had a higher prevalence of CA than controls (53.7% vs 34.3%; p<0.0001). Younger CHC (<50 years) had a higher prevalence of CA than controls (34.0% vs 16.0%; p<0.04). CHC patients without steatosis had a higher prevalence of CA than B1 controls (26.0% vs 14.8%; p<0.02). CHC with steatosis had a higher prevalence of CA than NAFLD patients (77.7% vs 57.8%, p<0.0001). Viral load was associated with serum CRP and fibrinogen levels; steatosis with metabolic syndrome, HOMA-IR, hyperhomocysteinemia and liver fibrosis. Viral load and steatosis were independently associated with CA. Diabetes and metabolic syndrome were associated with plaques.
HCV infection is a risk factor for earlier and facilitated occurrence of CA via viral load and steatosis which modulate atherogenic factors such as inflammation and dysmetabolic milieu.