Long-term follow up of chronic hepatitis C patients after α-interferon treatment: A functional study

Edoardo Giannini, Alberto Fasoli, Federica Botta, Emanuela Testa, Paola Romagnoli, Paola Ceppa, Roberto Testa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: To evaluate the long-term functional outcome of chronic hepatitis C (CHC) patients treated with interferon (IFN) therapy. Methods: Thirty-six patients with CHC were followed up for a mean of 36 months (± 19, SD) after a course of IFN therapy. Biochemical, virological (qualitative hepatitis C virus (HCV)-RNA and HCV genotype), and functional (monoethylglycinexylidide (MEGX) test) evaluations were carried out at the time of liver biopsy. Patients were divided into long-term responders (LTR), relapsers (RR), or non-responders (NR) according to IFN therapy outcome. At the end of follow up, patients were non-invasively re-evaluated by means of biochemistry, qualitative HCV-RNA, MEGX test, and liver ultrasonography. Results: A significant decrease in MEGX values was observed in all patients. However, when patients were examined according to treatment outcome, only NR and RR showed a significant decrease in liver function as compared to pretreatment levels (MEGX30, 80.5±26.8-62.9±24.2 ng/mL, P60, 72.9±18.1-60.5±19.7 ng/mL, PAUC, 3816±1243-3095±1205 ng/mL per h, P15,72.9±31.4-70.3±29.7 ng/mL; MEGX30,84.0±27.6-71.5±21.8 ng/ mL; MEGX60, 69.5±26.8-63.2±14.4 ng/mL; MEGXAUC 4028±1378-3620±1041 ng/mL per h). At the end of follow up, LTR patients showed normal liver biochemistry and negativity of serum HCV-RNA, while NR and RR patients showed a significant decrease in platelets. Conclusions: In CHC patients long-term response to IFN therapy, besides favoring positive clinical and virologic long-term outcome, results in maintaining preserved liver function. Furthermore, IFN therapy seems to determine a decrease in the rate of functional disease progression, even in NR and RR.The MEGX test may be considered as a useful tool for performing serial follow up of CHC patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-405
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Chronic hepatitis
  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Interferon
  • Monoethylglycinexylidide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Hepatology


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