Objective: In chronic hepatitis C, early viral load decline after interferon administration is dose dependent and reflects the intrinsic viral susceptibility to the antiviral action of interferon. We examined whetherthe augmented suppression of susceptible viral loads by high-dose induction interferon could possibly discriminate responsive patients from non-responsive patients at an early stage of treatment. Methods: Fifty-nine chronic hepatitis C patients were randomly allocated to receive one of two treatment regimens; 3 MU interferon three times weekly plus ribavirin 1,000 mg/day for 24 weeks in the CR group (n = 30), and the same regimen as in the CR group except 10 MU interferon daily for the first week in the HR group (n = 29). Changes in viral loads during the first week of treatment were analyzed in terms of sustained virological response (SVR). Results: The positive predictive values of undetectable (<100 IU/ml) or low serum HCV RNA (<2,000 IU/ml) after 1 week of treatment for SVR were 100% in both treatment groups, whereas the negative predictive values of the low viral titer were 91% in the HR group and 70% in the CR group. Conclusion: One-week virological response to high-dose induction interferon/ribavirin combination therapy is more predictive of SVR than conventional combination therapy in chronic hepatitis C.
- Early viral dynamics
- High-dose induction interferon
- Response prediction