Incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus and glucose abnormalities in patients with chronic hepatitis C infection by response to treatment: results of a cohort study

Am J Gastroenterol. 2008 Oct;103(10):2481-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2008.02002.x. Epub 2008 Aug 8.


Background: Patients with chronic hepatitis C are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) and impaired fasting glucose (IFG), and this risk may increase among hepatitis C virus (HCV) patients not responding to an antiviral therapy.

Aim: To compare the incidence of glucose abnormalities (IFG or DM) after an antiviral therapy between HCV+ patients with a long-term virological response (LTR) and nonresponders (NR; persistently positive HCV-RNA).

Methods: All 202 HCV+ patients without the baseline glucose abnormalities enrolled by our center in investigational trials or routinely treated with interferon (IFN)/peginterferon (Peg-IFN) (+/- ribavirin) from 1988 to 2001, with the available baseline sera stored at -80 degrees C, were considered. The baseline data included age, sex, body mass index (BMI), viral load, genotype, liver histologic staging and steatosis, glucose, and cholesterol. The homeostatic assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) was calculated in the baseline serum. The incidence of IFG or DM at the end of follow-up was compared between patients with LTR and NR.

Results: After a median follow-up of 8.0 yr (range 5-16), the cumulative risk of DM (N = 7) or IFG (N = 33) among the 202 HCV+ included patients was 16.9% (95% confidence interval [CI] 11.3-22.5). The 8-yr risk was not significantly lower between LTRs (14.5%) compared to NRs (18.8%) (hazard ratio [HR] 0.60, CI 0.30-1.20, P= 0.16). The HR adjusted for the baseline risk factors for DM and the predictors of a poor response (age, sex, HOMA-IR, BMI, family history of diabetes, HCV genotype 1, high viral load, cirrhosis, and steatosis) was 0.88 (CI 0.38-2.02, P= 0.76). Among other factors, those more associated to IFG-DM were an increasing age (P= 0.017), a higher BMI (P= 0.054), and a family history of DM (P= 0.065).

Conclusions: After adjustment for several baseline risk factors, the incidence of glucose abnormalities was not significantly different between LTRs and NRs. Our data suggest that HCV clearance does not significantly reduce the risk of glucose intolerance.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology
  • Drug Carriers
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glucose Intolerance / blood
  • Glucose Intolerance / epidemiology*
  • Glucose Intolerance / etiology
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Hepacivirus / drug effects
  • Hepacivirus / genetics
  • Hepacivirus / immunology
  • Hepatitis C Antibodies / analysis
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / complications*
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / drug therapy
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / virology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use*
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polyethylene Glycols / therapeutic use*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prognosis
  • RNA, Viral / analysis
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ribavirin / therapeutic use*
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Blood Glucose
  • Drug Carriers
  • Hepatitis C Antibodies
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha
  • RNA, Viral
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Ribavirin
  • peginterferon alfa-2a