Viral, host and interferon-related factors modulating the effect of interferon therapy for hepatitis C virus infection

J Viral Hepat. 2001 Jan;8(1):1-18. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2893.2001.00253.x.


The estimated prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection in the US is approximately 1.8%. Although interferon monotherapy and combination therapy of interferon with ribavirin represent mainstay for treating HCV infection, the rate of sustained virologic response remains suboptimal. The growing evidence suggested that the clinical sequence and treatment response of chronic hepatitis C are determined by a dynamic, complex tripartite relationship among HCV infection, the host immune response, and the effect of different interferon regimens. The treatment response is associated with various viral factors including the pretreatment viral level, dynamic change of viral level during treatment, viral genotype quasispecies and nucleotide mutation in nonstructural protein 5A of hepatitis C virus. Host factors that may affect treatment response include age, gender, race, HLA alleles and the host immune responses. Interferon regimens, including type, dose, frequency and duration of treatment and combination of interferon with other anti-HCV agents also alter the therapeutic response. Understanding these complicated interaction may provide better insights into the mechanism(s) of interferon response, leading to more effective clinical application of interferon therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Hepacivirus / classification
  • Hepacivirus / genetics
  • Hepacivirus / physiology*
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / drug therapy*
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / immunology
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / virology
  • Humans
  • Interferons / therapeutic use*
  • RNA, Viral / blood


  • Antiviral Agents
  • RNA, Viral
  • Interferons