Jean-Baptiste Nousbaum, MD; Stanislas Pol, MD, PhD; Bertrand Nalpas, MD, PhD; Paul Landais, MD; Pierre Berthelot, MD, PhD; Christian Brechot, MD; The Collaborative Study Group*
To analyze the distribution of hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes among patients positive for antibody to HCV (anti-HCV) according to age, severity of liver disease, and duration of infection; to investigate the influence of HCV genotypes on response to interferon-α therapy; and to study HCV viremia levels in relation to genotypes and severity of liver disease.
3 university hospitals and 2 research units.
3 groups of French and Italian patients with chronic HCV infection and detectable serum HCV RNA: Group 1 included 35 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma; group 2, 71 patients with cirrhosis who did not have hepatocellular carcinoma; and group 3, 114 patients with chronic active hepatitis. 106 of the patients with chronic hepatitis or cirrhosis were treated with interferon-α (3 MU subcutaneously 3 times/wk for ≥ 6 months).
Genotyping by polymerase chain reaction with capsid-specific primers; serum HCV RNA by branched DNA (bDNA) signal amplification.
Hepatitis C virus genotype 1b (II) was the most prevalent genotype (61.8%). In a univariate analysis, it was associated with older age (<40 years, 47.4%; ≥ 60 years, 80.4%; P = 0.001), longer duration of disease (≤ 10 years, 40.4%; ≥ 20 years, 86.7%; P = 0.005), and cirrhosis with or without hepatocellular carcinoma (78.4% compared with 53.8% for chronic hepatitis; P < 0.001). Viremia levels did not differ between patients infected with HCV type 1b (II) and those infected with other HCV genotypes. Patients with HCV type 1b (II) responded to interferon-α therapy significantly less than did patients with other HCV genotypes (P = 0.01). In a multivariate analysis, age and cirrhosis were independently associated with HCV genotype 1b (II). Genotype and HCV viremia level were independent predictors of response to interferon-α therapy.
The prevalence of HCV genotypes in French and Italian patients has been changing; the prevalence of HCV type 1b (II) infection has progressively decreased, although it still accounts for most HCV-related cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. High HCV viremia levels and HCV genotype type 1b (II) are independent predictors for poor response to interferon-α therapy and should be considered in the management of patients with HCV infection.
For affiliations and current author addresses, see end of text.
*For a listing of collaborators, see Appendix 2.
Nousbaum J, Pol S, Nalpas B, Landais P, Berthelot P, Brechot C, et al. Hepatitis C Virus Type 1b (II) Infection in France and Italy. Ann Intern Med. 1995;122:161–168. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-122-3-199502010-00001
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1995;122(3):161-168.
Gastroenterology/Hepatology, Infectious Disease, Viral Hepatitis.
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