In immune-competent patients, higher vitamin D levels predicted sustained viral response (SVR) following interferon (INF) and ribavirin therapy for chronic hepatitis C. This study aimed to verify the influence of vitamin D serum levels and/or vitamin D supplementation in predicting SVR rates for recurrent hepatitis C (RHC). Forty-two consecutive patients were treated for RHC with combination therapy with INF-α and ribavirin for 48 weeks. Vitamin D serum levels were measured in all patients before antiviral therapy. In 15 patients oral vitamin D3 supplementation was administered to avoid further bone loss. SVR was observed in 13 patients; it was achieved in 1/10 severely vitamin D deficient (≤ 10 ng/ml) patients, in 6/20 deficient (>10 and ≤ 20 ng/ml) and in 6/12 with near normal (> 20 ng/ml) 25-OH vitamin D serum levels (P < 0.05). Cholecalciferol supplementation, in the presence of a normal or near normal baseline vitamin D concentration, (improvement of chi-square P < 0.05, odds ratio 2.22) and possessing a genotype other than 1 (improvement of chi-square P < 0.05, odds ratio 3.383) were the only variables independently associated to SVR. In conclusion, vitamin D deficiency predicts an unfavourable response to antiviral treatment of RHC. Vitamin D supplementation improves the probability of achieving a SVR following antiviral treatment.
© 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 European Society for Organ Transplantation.