Ultra-deep Sequencing Analysis of Resistance-Associated Variants During Retreatment With Simeprevir-Based Triple Therapy After Failure of Telaprevir-Based Triple Therapy in Patients With Genotype 1 Hepatitis C Virus Infection

Hepatol Res. 2017 Jul;47(8):773-782. doi: 10.1111/hepr.12817. Epub 2016 Oct 26.


Aim: Simeprevir (SMV)-based triple therapy is an effective retreatment option following failure of telaprevir (TVR)-based triple therapy. However, it is unclear whether the persistence of resistance-associated variants (RAVs) induced by TVR-based therapy may reduce the treatment effect of SMV-based therapy.

Methods: The factors associated with the treatment effect, including RAVs in the NS3 region, were examined in 21 patients with genotype 1b HCV infection who were treated with SMV-based therapy after failure of TVR-based therapy. Ultra-deep sequencing was carried out to detect RAVs.

Results: With the exception of one patient who discontinued treatment owing to adverse events, the sustained virologic response (SVR) rate was 50% (10/20). Ultra-deep sequencing at the start of SMV-based therapy revealed that TVR-resistant variants were detected in six patients (29%), and no variants were observed at position 168. Cross-resistance between TVR and SMV with low frequency was detected in only one patient, and this patient achieved SVR. Higher SVRs for SMV-based therapy were attained in patients who discontinued treatment owing to the adverse effects of prior TVR-based therapy (discontinuation 100% vs. non-discontinuation 29%, P = 0.005), and patients who relapsed following prior pegylated interferon plus ribavirin therapy (relapse 100% vs. non-response 20%, P = 0.007).

Conclusions: In this study, ultra-deep sequencing analysis revealed that TVR and/or SMV-resistant variants may have no influence on the effect of SMV-based therapy after failure of TVR-based therapy. Patients who discontinued treatment owing to adverse effects of TVR-based therapy and relapsers to previous pegylated interferon/ribavirin therapy would be good candidates for retreatment with SMV-based therapy.

Keywords: chronic hepatitis C; resistance-associated variants (RAVs); simeprevir; telaprevir; ultra-deep sequencing.