Background & aims: We evaluated the effect of insulin resistance and viral factors on sustained virological response in patients with chronic hepatitis C treated with peginterferon plus ribavirin.
Methods: Patients (n=159; 94 men; age, 41.7 +/- 11.1 years) with chronic hepatitis C (genotype 1, n=113; non-1 genotype, n=46) received treatment with interferon plus ribavirin. Serum levels of leptin and insulin were measured, and the insulin resistance index (HOMA-IR: homeostasis model of assessment) and body mass index were calculated.
Results: A sustained virological response was associated with lower age, insulin resistance index, body mass index, and gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase and serum leptin levels. There was no association with viral load, sex, type of interferon, or cholesterol levels. A sustained virological response was achieved in 43.4% (46/113) of genotype 1 and 89% (32/36) of genotype 2 and 3 (P=.0001) patients. Necroinflammatory activity and steatosis were not associated with the sustained virological response rate. Multivariate regression analysis indicated that the independent variables related to sustained virological response were genotype (odds ratio, 3.57; 95% confidence interval, 1.49-8.3; P=.001), insulin resistance index (odds ratio, 1.82; 95% confidence interval, 1.08-3.06; P=.012), and fibrosis (odds ratio, 1.36; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-1.84; P=.029). A sustained virological response in patients with genotype 1 and insulin resistance (HOMA-IR > 2) occurred in 23 of 70 (32.8%; 95% confidence interval, 21.9%-43.9%) patients, vs. 26 of 43 (60.5%; 95% confidence interval, 45.9%-75.1%) genotype 1 patients without insulin resistance (P=.007; odds ratio, 3.12, 95% confidence interval, 1.42-6.89).
Conclusions: Insulin resistance, fibrosis, and genotype are independent predictors of the response to antiviral therapy in chronic hepatitis C patients treated with peginterferon plus ribavirin.