SCCA-IC serum levels are predictive of clinical response in HCV chronic hepatitis to antiviral therapy: A multicentric prospective study

E. Fransvea, P. Trerotoli, R. Sacco, V. Bernabucci, M. Milella, N. Napoli, A. Mazzocca, E. Renna, M. Quaranta, G. Angarano, E. Villa, S. Antonaci, G. Giannelli

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The combination of pegylated interferon (Peg-IFN) and ribavirin is currently the gold standard therapy in patients with HCV chronic infection. The duration of therapy, as well as the therapeutic dosage, depend on the genotype. Identification of the genotype and rapid virological response (RVR) are widely accepted as the most important predictors of clinical outcome during antiviral therapy but to optimize cost-benefits and to reduce possible side effects, further prognostic factors are needed. Squamous cell carcinoma antigens immunocomplex (SCCA-IC) has been reported to be increased in the serum of patients with liver cancer. In this multicentric prospective study, we investigated the serum levels of SCCA-IC in 103 patients with HCV chronic infection. Serum HCV-RNA was detected before the beginning of treatment, after 4, 12, 24 or 48 weeks, and at week 24 during follow-up. RVR, early virological response and sustained virological response (SVR) were assessed following the international guidelines. SCCA-IC levels were higher in responders (238 AU, interquartile difference 130-556 AU) and decreased significantly to 125 AU (70-290 AU). The mean baseline value in nonresponders was 149 AU (86.5-306.5 AU), but after 4 weeks of treatment the serum levels decreased to 115 AU (80-280 AU): the profile of reduction was different between patients with or without a positive SVR. Logistic regression with SVR as dependent variable identified as significant independent variables: the reduction in SCCA-IC after 1 month (OR = 4.82; 95% CI 1.39-16.67; P = 0.131) and a genotype other than 1 (OR = 0.094; 95% CI 0.21-0.42; P = 0.002); sex and age were also significant factors influencing SVR. SCCA-IC seems to be a reliable independent prognostic marker of therapeutic effectiveness in anti-HCV positive patients undergoing antiviral therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)704-710
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Viral Hepatitis
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


  • antiviral therapy
  • chronic C hepatitis
  • prognostic factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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