Long-term effects of α-interferon therapy for type II mixed cryoglobulinemia

C. Mazzaro, G. Pozzato, M. Moretti, M. Crovatto, M. L. Modolo, G. Mazzi, G. Santini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Several reports showed that mixed cryoglobulinemia (MC) is closely associated with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Since several authors reported the efficacy of α-interferon in the treatment of MC, we investigated the long-term effects of this drug on clinical, hematological and virological parameters in a group of 18 patients (13 women and 5 men, mean age 56 ± 11 years) affected by MC. Methods. A bone marrow biopsy was performed in all patients, and a liver biopsy was obtained in those with biochemical signs of chronic liver disease. The presence of HCV-RNA in serum was assessed by detection of anti-HCV antibodies and by PCR amplification of the 5' untranslated region of HCV. All patients followed the same treatment schedule: three million units of recombinant interferon α-2b s.c., three times a week for 1 year. Results. In 5 cases bone marrow histology showed the presence of a monoclonal lymphocytic infiltrate. Liver biopsies were performed in 13 (72%) of the patients and a chronic liver disease was found in all 13. Anti-HCV antibodies were present in 17 (95%) subjects. HCV-RNA was detected in all cases (100%) before therapy. Five (28%) patients achieved a complete response and 9 (50%) a partial response, while the others (4 cases, 22%) showed minor responses. Four patients cleared the virus and obtained a complete remission of the MC. Conclusions. HCV may be a cause of MIC. The disease is associated with a high incidence of monoclonal lymphocytic infiltrate of the bone marrow, α-interferon seems to be an effective agent for the treatment of MIC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-349
Number of pages8
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • α-interferon
  • hepatitis C virus
  • immunoglobulins
  • mixed cryoglobulinemia
  • rheumatoid factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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