Background & aims: A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) upstream of the IL28B gene has been associated with response of patients with chronic hepatitis C to therapy with pegylated interferon and ribavirin and also with spontaneous clearance of acute hepatitis C in a heterogeneous population. We analyzed the association between IL28B and the clinical presentation of acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in a homogeneous population.
Methods: We analyzed the SNP rs12979860 in 190 women from the German anti-D cohort (infected with HCV genotype 1b via contaminated rhesus prophylaxis) and its association with spontaneous clearance. Clinical data were available in 136 women with acute infection who were also evaluated for IL28B genotype. Based on results of a TaqMan polymerase chain reaction assay, the rs12979860 SNP genotypes studied were C/C, C/T, or T/T.
Results: Spontaneous clearance was more common in patients with the C/C genotype (43/67; 64%) compared with C/T (22/90; 24%) or T/T (2/33; 6%) (P < .001). Jaundice during acute infection was more common among patients with C/C genotype (32.7%) than non-C/C patients (with C/T or T/T) (16.1%; P = .032). In C/C patients, jaundice during acute infection was not associated with an increased chance of spontaneous clearance (56.3%) compared with those without jaundice (60.6%). In contrast, in non-C/C patients, jaundice was associated with a higher likelihood of spontaneous clearance (42.9%) compared with those without jaundice (13.7%).
Conclusions: The SNP rs12979860 upstream of IL28B is associated with spontaneous clearance of HCV. Women with the C/T or T/T genotype who did not develop jaundice had a lower chance of spontaneous clearance of HCV infection.
Copyright © 2010 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.