Positive serum antinuclear antibody (ANA) is not infrequent in chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected patients. This prospective study evaluated the impact of ANA on the response to and safety of peginterferon/ribavirin combination therapy for chronic hepatitis C patients in clinical practice. We enrolled 243 consecutive patients who were treated with a 24-week regimen of peginterferon-α plus ribavirin, with a 24-week follow-up period. ANA titer was determined before antiviral treatment. The primary end-point was sustained virological response (SVR), defined as HCV RNA <50 IU/mL throughout the follow-up period. Overall, 187 (77.0%) patients experienced a SVR. In the 105-patient HCV genotype non-1 group, patients with ANA titer ≥1:80 had a significantly lower SVR rate than those with ANA titer <1:80 (67.7% vs. 95.8%, respectively, p = 0.013). In contrast, in the 138-patient HCV genotype 1 group, the SVR rate did not differ between patients with and without ANA titer ≥1:80. Multivariate regressive analyses showed that ANA ≥1:80, age and HCV RNA levels were independent factors associated with SVR in HCV genotype non-1 patients; whereas HCV RNA levels and hepatic fibrosis were prognostic predictors of SVR in HCV genotype 1 patients. The frequencies of adverse events were similar between patients with and without ANA seropositivity. Peginterferon/ribavirin combination therapy is effective and safe in ANA-positive chronic hepatitis C patients. A high ANA titer was a negative prognostic factor for treatment response in HCV genotype non-1 patients.
Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier B.V.