Purpose: The aim of this study was to evaluate the persistence of sustained viral response after treatment of hepatitis C with pegylated interferon alpha-2a in hemodialysis patients.
Methods: 14 hemodialysis patients with chronic hepatitis C were treated with pegylated interferon alpha-2a for a period of 48 weeks. Achieved sustained viral response rate was 35.7% (5/14 patients) at week 72, i.e. 24 weeks after the treatment ended. All treated patients were then prospectively followed until week 144. Follow-up viral data, such as HCV antibodies, serum HCV RNA, and HCV RNA genotype, were determined at week 96 and week 144. HCV antibodies were determined by a 3rd-generation ELISA assay. The presence of HCV RNA was determined using reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (AMPLICOR Hepatitis C Virus Test). HCV genotype was analyzed by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction followed by hybridization of amplified products. The biochemical data were recorded every 24 weeks during the follow-up period.
Results: The 5 patients (35.7%), who achieved sustained viral response (SVR), remained HCV RNA negative at week 96. At week 144, 4 hemodialysis patients (28.6%) remained HCV RNA negative. There was a relapse of HCV infection in 1 patient after week 96 of the study. The patients who remained HCV RNA negative also maintained the achieved biochemical response throughout the follow-up period.
Conclusion: Long-term follow-up of treated hemodialysis patients with pegylated interferon alpha-2a showed persistence of the sustained viral and biochemical response.