Virological profiles in hepatitis B virus/hepatitis C virus coinfected patients under interferon plus ribavirin therapy

Carlo Saitta, Patrizia Pontisso, Maurizia R. Brunette, Silvia Fargion, Giovanni B. Gaeta, Grazia A. Niro, Antonio Picciotto, Antonina Smedile, Giovanni Squadrito, Giovanni Raimondo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is believed to exert a suppressive effect on hepatitis B virus (HBV) in most HBV/HCV-coinfected patients; once HCV is cured by interferon-based therapy, these patients may show HBV reactivation. However, recent evidence revealed that the virological status in HBV/HCV-untreated individuals may vary over time and may show fluctuating profiles. Methods: To evaluate the behaviour of apparently inactive HBV infection in patients under treatment for a concurrent HCV infection, we performed a prospective study that evaluated nine consecutive patients (eight males with a median age of 45.9 years, and one female aged 62 years) longitudinally followed-up with bi-monthly evaluation of HBV/HCV viraemia levels and liver biochemistry during a 1-year treatment with interferon plus ribavirin. Results: In seven cases the HBV infection maintained its inactive status independently of the HCV response to therapy. By contrast, two non-responder cases with persistently high HCV RNA levels showed HBV DNA flairs during the follow-up, indicating a status of active HBV infection with fluctuating virological profiles. Conclusions: This study suggests that the HBV behaviour may be independent of the HCV activity during anti-HCV therapy in HBV/HCV-coinfected patients, and that the HBV virological profile should be monitored to recognize possible reactivations that might lead to more proper therapeutic choices or adjustments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)931-934
Number of pages4
JournalAntiviral Therapy
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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