Impact of hepatitis C virus polymorphisms on direct-acting antiviral treatment efficacy: Regulatory analyses and perspectives

Hepatology. 2018 Jun;67(6):2430-2448. doi: 10.1002/hep.29693.


Several highly effective, interferon-free, direct-acting antiviral (DAA)-based regimens are available for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Despite impressive efficacy overall, a small proportion of patients in registrational trials experienced treatment failure, which in some cases was associated with the detection of HCV resistance-associated substitutions (RASs) at baseline. In this article, we describe methods and key findings from independent regulatory analyses investigating the impact of baseline nonstructural (NS) 3 Q80K and NS5A RASs on the efficacy of current United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved regimens for patients with HCV genotype (GT) 1 or GT3 infection. These analyses focused on clinical trials that included patients who were previously naïve to the DAA class(es) in their investigational regimen and characterized the impact of baseline RASs that were enriched in the viral population as natural or transmitted polymorphisms (i.e., not drug-selected RASs). We used a consistent approach to optimize comparability of results across different DAA regimens and patient populations, including the use of a 15% sensitivity cutoff for next-generation sequencing results and standardized lists of NS5A RASs. These analyses confirmed that detection of NS3 Q80K or NS5A baseline RASs was associated with reduced treatment efficacy for multiple DAA regimens, but their impact was often minimized with the use of an intensified treatment regimen, such as a longer treatment duration and/or addition of ribavirin. We discuss the drug resistance-related considerations that contributed to pretreatment resistance testing and treatment recommendations in drug labeling for FDA-approved DAA regimens.

Conclusion: Independent regulatory analyses confirmed that baseline HCV RASs can reduce the efficacy of certain DAA-based regimens in selected patient groups. However, highly effective treatment options are available for patients with or without baseline RASs. (Hepatology 2018;67:2430-2448).

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Combinations
  • Drug Resistance, Viral / genetics*
  • Hepacivirus / drug effects*
  • Hepacivirus / genetics*
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Drug Combinations