Long-term follow-up of chronic hepatitis C patients with sustained virological response to various forms of interferon-based anti-viral therapy

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2006 Feb 15;23(4):507-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2006.02785.x.


Background: Combination anti-viral therapy achieves a sustained virological response (defined as HCV-RNA negativity 6 months after the end of therapy) of 56% of patients with chronic hepatitis C. Little is known about long-term durability of HCV-RNA negativity in patient treated with pegylated interferon.

Aim: To evaluate the durability of virologic response in patients with sustained virological response to anti-viral therapy treated at our centre.

Methods: A total of 187 sustained virological responses (50% genotype 1, 42% genotype 2 or 3 and 8% genotype 4; 20% with cirrhosis) with a follow-up of >12 months post-therapy were studied. Twelve patients received monotherapy with interferon-alpha2a or -2b. One hundred and seventy-five received combination therapy with ribavirin and standard interferon-alpha (n = 73) or pegylated interferon-alpha2a or 2b (n = 102). Qualitative serum HCV-RNA was tested by COBAS AMPLICOR HCV test, v2.0.

Results: Median follow-up time was 29 months (range 12-172). Recurrence of HCV infection was not observed in any of the 187 sustained virological responders. Alanine aminotransferase values were normal in 90% and two patients showed minimal elevation of alpha-fetoprotein levels.

Conclusions: No recurrence of HCV infection was seen in any patient. Thus, long-term prognosis in chronic hepatitis C patients with a sustained virological response to therapy with pegylated interferon +/- ribavirin is promising, but long-term studies need to continue.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / drug therapy*
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / virology
  • Humans
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use
  • Interferons / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Polyethylene Glycols / therapeutic use
  • RNA, Viral / blood
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Recurrence
  • Ribavirin / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome
  • alpha-Fetoproteins / analysis


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha
  • RNA, Viral
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • alpha-Fetoproteins
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Ribavirin
  • Interferons
  • Alanine Transaminase
  • peginterferon alfa-2b
  • peginterferon alfa-2a