Effectiveness of leukocyte interferon in patients affected by HCV-positive mixed cryoglobulinemia resistant to recombinant alpha-interferon

Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2002 Jan-Feb;20(1):27-34.


Objective: Interferon is the first-choice therapy for HCV-positive mixed cryoglobulinemia, but only a small fraction of the patients show long-term recovery from the disease. In non-responders or relapsers, the second-line therapy (high dose interferon) generally is not effective. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of leukocyte interferon as a second-line therapy in patients who are non-responders or relapsers to a first course of recombinant interferon.

Methods: Twenty-eight patients with HCV-positive mixed cryoglobulinemia were enrolled. In each case the HCV-RNA and HCV genotype, as well as the usual laboratory parameters, were determined before, at the end of therapy and 1 year after the end of therapy. All patients were treated following the same schedule: leukocyte interferon 3,000,000 three times a week for one year.

Results: Only 5 patients obtained complete recovery from viral infection as well as from all signs and symptoms of the disease. Most patients (80%) experienced relief from clinical symptoms without recovery from HCV replication. Responders to the second interferon course were "relapsers" to the first treatment. No patient considered as a "non-responder" showed complete remission from the disease after the second treatment.

Conclusions: A second leukocyte interferon course could be useful for patients affected by mixed crvoglobulinemia who relapsed after a first course of recombinant interferon therapy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy
  • Cryoglobulinemia / drug therapy*
  • Cryoglobulinemia / immunology
  • Cryoglobulinemia / virology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Genotype
  • Hepacivirus / genetics
  • Hepacivirus / isolation & purification*
  • Hepatitis C / immunology*
  • Hepatitis C / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use*
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use*
  • Liver / pathology
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • RNA, Viral / analysis
  • Recurrence
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Immunologic Factors
  • Interferon-alpha
  • RNA, Viral