Factors that predict response of patients with hepatitis C virus infection to boceprevir

Gastroenterology. 2012 Sep;143(3):608-618.e5. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2012.05.011. Epub 2012 May 21.


Background & aims: Little is known about factors associated with a sustained virologic response (SVR) among patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection to treatment with protease inhibitors.

Methods: Previously untreated patients (from the Serine Protease Inhibitor Therapy 2 [SPRINT-2] trial) and those who did not respond to prior therapy (from the Retreatment with HCV Serine Protease Inhibitor Boceprevir and PegIntron/Rebetol 2 [RESPOND-2] trial) received either a combination of peginterferon and ribavirin for 48 weeks or boceprevir, peginterferon, and ribavirin (triple therapy) after 4 weeks of peginterferon and ribavirin (total treatment duration, 28-48 wk). A good response to interferon was defined as a ≥ 1 log(10) decrease in HCV RNA at week 4; a poor response was defined as a <1 log(10) decrease. We used multivariate regression analyses to identify baseline factors of the host (including the polymorphism interleukin [IL]-28B rs12979860) associated with response. The polymorphism IL-28B rs8099917 also was assessed.

Results: In the SPRINT-2 trial, factors that predicted a SVR to triple therapy included low viral load (odds ratio [OR], 11.6), IL-28B genotype (rs 12979860 CC vs TT and CT; ORs, 2.6 and 2.1, respectively), absence of cirrhosis (OR, 4.3), HCV subtype 1b (OR, 2.0), and non-black race (OR, 2.0). In the RESPOND-2 trial, the only factor significantly associated with a SVR was previous relapse, compared with previous nonresponse (OR, 2.6). Most patients with rs12979860 CC who received triple therapy had undetectable levels of HCV RNA by week 8 (76%-89%), and were eligible for shortened therapy. In both studies, IL-28B rs12979860 CC was associated more strongly with a good response to interferon than other baseline factors; however, a ≥ 1 log(10) decrease in HCV-RNA level at week 4 was associated more strongly with SVR than IL-28B rs12979860. Combining the rs8099917 and rs12979860 genotypes does not increase the association with SVR.

Conclusions: The CC polymorphism at IL-28B rs12979860 is associated with response to triple therapy and can identify candidates for shorter treatment durations. A ≥ 1 log(10) decrease in HCV RNA at week 4 of therapy is the strongest predictor of a SVR, regardless of polymorphisms in IL-28B.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00705432 NCT00708500.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Canada
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Hepacivirus / drug effects*
  • Hepacivirus / genetics
  • Hepacivirus / growth & development
  • Hepatitis C / diagnosis
  • Hepatitis C / drug therapy*
  • Hepatitis C / genetics
  • Humans
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use
  • Interferons
  • Interleukins / genetics
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Phenotype
  • Polyethylene Glycols / therapeutic use
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Proline / analogs & derivatives*
  • Proline / therapeutic use
  • Prospective Studies
  • RNA, Viral / blood
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Ribavirin / therapeutic use
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States
  • Viral Load


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Biomarkers
  • IFNL3 protein, human
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Interleukins
  • RNA, Viral
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Ribavirin
  • N-(3-amino-1-(cyclobutylmethyl)-2,3-dioxopropyl)-3-(2-((((1,1-dimethylethyl)amino)carbonyl)amino)-3,3-dimethyl-1-oxobutyl)-6,6-dimethyl-3-azabicyclo(3.1.0)hexan-2-carboxamide
  • Interferons
  • Proline
  • peginterferon alfa-2b

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00705432
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00708500