Interferon α in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C in children: A metanalysis

Vincenzo Di Ciommo, P. Russo, L. Ravà, L. Caprino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Children with chronic hepatitis C may be ideal candidates for treatment with interferon alpha (IFNα) as they have liver disease at an early stage. However, adverse drug reactions need to be considered. The aim of this study was to conduct a systematic review of literature on interferon therapy of chronic hepatitis C in children, and to perform a metanalysis of pooled data. A computerized search gave 18 articles on IFNα therapy in children with chronic hepatitis C; after exclusion of uncontrolled trials and of trials including patients with comorbidities, data from two studies could be pooled (48 patients). The outcomes assessed were biochemical, defined as normalization of alanine transaminase, and virologic, defined as HCV-RNA loss, both sustained at 24 months after enrolment. Results of the studies were homogenous. Risk difference was 37% (95%CI: 12.9-61) in favour of IFNα treated children for sustained biochemical response, and 36.8% (95%CI: 14.3-59.3) in favour of treated children for sustained HCV clearance, respectively. The differences were highly significant (P = 0.007 and P = 0.004, respectively). The histological end-point, as well as side-effects, could not be analysed, due to lack of data. This review identifies the poor methodology of the majority of the published trials. The study provides support for the efficacy of IFNα in improving both biochemical and virologic outcomes in chronic hepatitis C in children, but evidence is confined to these surrogate end-points.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-214
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Viral Hepatitis
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2003


  • Children
  • Chronic hepatitis
  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Interferon alpha
  • Metanalysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Virology

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