The extent of mixed hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype in different compartments (plasma and peripheral blood mononuclear cell, PBMC) and possible association with treatment efficacy in HIV/HCV coinfected patients remains to be unknown. The objective of this study was to elucidate the frequency of mixed genotype infection (MG), its profile in different compartments during anti-HCV treatment, and the possible influence of different genotypes on the response rate. The compartmentalization of HCV population was investigated by next-generation sequencing in 19 HIV/HCV coinfected patients under anti-HCV treatment with peginterferon/ribavirin (P-R). Ten individuals were nonresponder (NR) or relapser (RE) to P-R treatment and 9 had a sustained virological response (SVR). Eleven/nineteen (58%) patients hadMG in plasma compartment. Ten or 12 patients infected by a difficult to treat genotype (DTG) 1 or 4 as dominant strain, had anMG, whereas only 1/7 individuals infected by easy to treat genotype (ETG) harbored a mixed genotype, P=0.006. HCV-RNA was more frequently detected in PBMC of NR (10/10) than in those of SVR (5/9), P=0.032. Mixed genotype infection was detected in 6/15 (40%) PBMC-positive cases and was not associated with P-R treatment response. By multivariate analysis, MG in plasma samples was the most important viral factor affecting the treatment response (P=0.0237). Detection of MG in plasma of HIV/HCV coinfected patients seems to represent the major determinant of response to P-R treatment. This finding may have important clinical implication in light of the new therapeutic approach in HIV/HCV coinfected individuals suggesting that combination treatment with direct acting antivirals could be less effective in MG.
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