A study was carried out to determine whether early viral dynamics retain prediction of the outcome of peginterferon (PEG-IFN) and ribavirin combination therapy based on different genetic polymorphisms near the IL28B gene, the strongest baseline predictor of response to this therapy. A total of 272 patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1b were grouped according to genetic polymorphisms near the IL28B gene (rs8099917). The ability of reduced HCV RNA levels at 4 and 12 weeks after starting therapy to predict a sustained virologic response was evaluated based on these genotypes. Among patients with the TT genotype for rs8099917 (associated with a favorable response), the rates of sustained virologic response were higher in patients with a ≥3 log 10 reduction in serum HCV RNA levels at 4 weeks after starting therapy (P<0.0001). In contrast, among patients with the TG/GG genotype (associated with an unfavorable response), there were no differences in this rate based on the reduction in HCV RNA levels at 4 weeks. Early viral dynamics at 4 weeks after starting therapy retains its predictive value for sustained virologic response in patients with the TT genotype for rs8099917, but not in patients with the TG/GG genotype. Patients who are likely to achieve sustained virologic response despite unfavorable TG/GG genotype cannot be identified based on early viral dynamics during therapy. In contrast, lack of early virologic response at 12 weeks retains a strong predictive value for the failure of sustained virologic response regardless of IL28B polymorphisms, which remains useful as a factor to stop therapy.
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