Peginterferon α (PegIFN α) plus ribavirin achieves sustained virological response (SVR) in more than 50% of patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Although in the trials which led to the registration of this combination therapy, only a 48-week period of treatment had been evaluated, current international guidelines state that 48 or 24 weeks of treatment should be recommended in accordance with genotype; i.e. 48 weeks for genotypes 1 and 4, and 24 weeks for 2 and 3. However, side effects and the high cost of antiviral therapy forced investigators to evaluate further reductions in the treatment duration. Based on the new evidence that fast and persistent viral clearance is highly predictive of SVR, a week 4 negative HCV RNA by a sensitive molecular assay was recently utilized as a criterion for halving the duration of treatment to 12-16 weeks for genotypes 2 and 3, and 24 weeks for genotype 1 patients. However, some issues on this topic, are still open. In this review, existing evidence is discussed, and both the relevance and limitations of published studies are considered.
- HCV genotype
ASJC Scopus subject areas