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Patients Respond as Well as Whites to Interferon-based Therapy
for Chronic Hepatitis C
Asian-American and white patients with genotype 1 or
2/3 chronic hepatitis C have a similar likelihood of
achieving sustained response to pegylated interferon
plus ribavirin, according to a California study described
in the May
2010 American Journal of Gastroenterology.
Investigators suggested that seemingly higher Asian
response rates seen in previous studies were due to
misclassifying easier-to-treat HCV genotype 6 as genotype
is well known that race/ethnicity influences response to interferon-based
combination therapy for chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
Numerous studies have shown that people of African descent --
and possibly Hispanics/Latinos, though data less inconsistent
-- do not respond as well as Caucasians; some research has found
that Asians may respond better than any other group.
Philip Vutien from Stanford University Medical Center and colleagues
compared sustained virological response (SVR) rates among Asian-American
and Caucasian patients accurately classified as having HCV genotype
1 or genotypes 2/3 using viral core sequencing.
In some prior studies, Asian patients with genotype 6 -- which
responds better to interferon -- were inaccurately classified
as having genotype 1 using the less sensitive INNO-LiPA assay,
leading to falsely high reported genotype 1 response rates.
HCV genotype 6 is predominant in Southeast Asia but rare in
the U.S. and Europe.
The researchers analyzed data from a cohort of 269 treatment-naive
chronic hepatitis C patients with genotypes 1 or 2/3 treated
with pegylated interferon
plus ribavirin between 2001 and November 2007 at 4 community-based
gastroenterology clinics in Northern California; 157 were Caucasian
and 112 were of Asian descent.