Aims: Interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) alone or in combination with ribavirin has been used for the last decade in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C, although the achievement of a sustained virological response (SVR) has not been very satisfactory. The treatment outcome depends on viral genotypes and host genetic polymorphisms in genes involved in the IFN-alpha signaling cascade. In this paper, we investigated the distribution of two variants of the IFNAR1 gene, G17470C and L168V, in two patient groups having received IFN-alpha alone or in combination with ribavirin.
Methods: The analysis was performed using DNA sequencing of the relevant gene fragments.
Results and conclusions: This study suggests that when combination therapy with high dose IFN-alpha and ribavirin is administered, HCV genotypes and age rather than the IFNAR1 polymorphisms are the predictors of a sustained response.