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Isolated anti-HBc in chronic hepatitis C predicts a poor response to interferon treatment.
  J Med Virol 2001 Dec;65(4):681-687
Sagnelli E, Coppola N, Scolastico C, Mogavero AR, Stanzione M, Filippini P, Felaco FM, Piccinino F Institute of Infectious Diseases, Second University of Naples, Naples, Italy.
The sustained response to interferon-alpha treatment was evaluated in 147 anti-HCV/HCV-RNA-positive, HBsAg-negative, chronic hepatitis patients, according to HCV genotypes and the presence or absence of anti-HBs and anti-HBc. These patients had been included in a controlled study on the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of three types of interferon-alpha given at a dose of 3 MU three times weekly for 52 weeks. One hundred and two patients had HCV genotype 1, 42 a non-1 HCV genotype and 3 multiple HCV genotypes; 46 were anti-HBs and anti-HBc negative (group A), 50 anti-HBs and anti-HBc positive (group B), and 51 anti-HBs negative and anti-HBc positive ("isolated" anti-HBc, group C). Serum HBV-DNA was detected by polymerase chain reaction in 15 of the 51 (29.4%) patients in group C and in none of those in groups A or B. The Sustained Response rate was higher in patients with a non-1 HCV genotype than those with HCV genotype 1 (31% vs. 17.7%, P > 0.1). Fewer patients in group C showed a sustained response than in group A or group B (7.8% vs. 30.4%, P = 0.009 and 7.8% vs 28%, P = 0.017, respectively). Moreover, the sustained response rate was high in patients with a non-1 genotype, both in group A (42.8%) and in group B (42.8%), intermediate in patients with HCV genotype 1 (23.3% in group A and 22.2% in group B) and low in group C, irrespective of HCV genotype (8.3% for genotype 1 and 7.1% for other genotypes). The data (suggests) indicate that patients with HCV chronic hepatitis and isolated anti-HBc show a poor response to IFN-alpha, irrespective of the HCV genotype.
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