Background/Aims: The aim of this study was to increase virologic response rates by individualized treatment according to the early virologic response. Methods: Serum HCV-RNA was frequently quantified in patients with chronic hepatitis C (n=270) treated with peginterferon alfa-2a (180 μg/week) and ribavirin (1000-1200 mg/day). After 6 weeks patients were classified as rapid (RVR), slow (SPR), flat (FPR), or null responders (NUR) and randomized within each viral kinetic class to continue therapy either with an individualized or standard regimen. Individualized therapy comprised peginterferon monotherapy (48 weeks) or shorter combination therapy (24 weeks) for RVR, triple therapy with histamine (1 mg/day) (48 weeks) or prolonged combination therapy (72 weeks) for SPR, triple therapy for FPR, and high-dose peginterferon (360 μg/week) plus ribavirin for NUR patients. Results: Patients were categorized as RVR (n=171), SPR (n=65), FPR (n=10), or NUR (n=22). Overall end-of-treatment and sustained virologic response rates were 77 and 60% in the individualized and 77 and 66% in the standard treatment arm, respectively. Histamine in addition to peginterferon and ribavirin and high-dose peginterferon plus ribavirin did not improve virologic response rates in patients with FPR and NUR, respectively. Conclusions: An improvement in virologic efficacy was not achieved with the available individualized treatment options.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by the European Community (QLK2-2000-00836), Hoffmann La–Roche and Maxim Pharmaceuticals.
- HCV-RNA quantification
- Hepatitis C virus
- Pegylated interferon
- Viral kinetics