Background: Interferon-based treatment is not suitable for many patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection because of contraindications such as psychiatric illness, and a high burden of adverse events. We assessed the efficacy and safety of an interferon-free regimen--a fixed-dose combination of the nucleotide polymerase inhibitor sofosbuvir (400 mg) and the HCV NS5A inhibitor ledipasvir (90 mg), with and without ribavirin--in patients with genotype-1 hepatitis C infection who were treatment-naive or previously treated with a protease-inhibitor regimen.
Methods: For this open-label study, we enrolled 100 adult patients (>18 years) with HCV infection at a centre in the USA between Nov 2, 2012, and Dec 21, 2012. In cohort A, we used a computer-generated sequence to randomly assign (1:1:1; stratified by HCV genotype [1a vs 1b]) 60 non-cirrhotic, treatment-naive patients to receive sofosbuvir plus ledipasvir for 8 weeks (group 1), sofosbuvir plus ledipasvir and ribavirin for 8 weeks (group 2), or sofosbuvir plus ledipasvir for 12 weeks (group 3). In cohort B, we randomly allocated (1:1; stratified by genotype and presence or absence of cirrhosis) 40 patients who previously had virological failure after receiving a protease inhibitor regimen to receive sofosbuvir plus ledipasvir for 12 weeks (group 4) or sofosbuvir plus ledipasvir and ribavirin for 12 weeks (group 5). 22 (55%) of 40 patients in cohort B had compensated cirrhosis. The primary endpoint was sustained virological response 12 weeks after treatment (SVR12), analysed by intention to treat. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01329978.
Findings: In cohort A, SVR12 was achieved by 19 (95%) of 20 patients (95% CI 75-100) in group 1, by 21 (100%) of 21 patients (84-100) in group 2, and by 18 (95%) of 19 patients (74-100) in group 3. In cohort B, SVR12 was achieved by 18 (95%) of 19 patients (74-100) in group 4 and by all 21 (100%) of 21 patients (84-100) in group 5. Two patients had viral relapse; one patient was lost to follow-up after achieving sustained virological response 8 weeks after treatment. The most common adverse events were nausea, anaemia, upper respiratory tract infection, and headache. One patient in group five had a serious adverse event of anaemia, thought to be related to ribavirin treatment.
Interpretation: These findings suggest that the fixed-dose combination of sofosbuvir-ledipasvir alone or with ribavirin has the potential to cure most patients with genotype-1 HCV, irrespective of treatment history or the presence of compensated cirrhosis. Further clinical trials are needed to establish the best treatment duration and to further assess the contribution of ribavirin.
Funding: Gilead Sciences.
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