Recombinant interferon-alfa therapy in children with chronic hepatitis C

Hepatology. 1995 Dec;22(6):1623-7.


The efficacy of recombinant interferon-alfa therapy in children with chronic hepatitis C has been evaluated in a randomized, controlled pilot study including 27 patients, aged 2 to 14 years, without underlying systemic diseases. On entry, all patients had abnormal alanine transaminase (ALT) levels, 22 were hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA positive, 19 had mild chronic active hepatitis, and 8 had chronic persistent hepatitis on liver biopsy. Fourteen children received 5 MU/m2 of recombinant interferon-alfa2b thrice weekly for 4 months. If at this time ALT had been reduced to at least 50% the baseline level, treatment was continued up to 12 months. The other 13 children remained untreated. The whole follow-up period lasted 24 months. Interferon was stopped at 4 months in 4 children because of an ALT increase (2 cases), unchanged ALT and febrile convulsions (1 case), and slight ALT decrease (1 case). This latter patient, however, had normal ALT at 6 months and throughout further follow-up, and cleared HCV RNA, thus behaving as a sustained responder. All 10 children treated for 12 months had normal levels of ALT, and 9 were HCV RNA negative at the end of treatment. Of the 9 children who could be followed to 24 months, 4 relapsed soon after therapy withdrawal and 5 maintained a sustained biochemical and virologic response. Overall, 6 (43%) of 14 treated children had a sustained ALT normalization associated with HCV RNA clearance as compared with only 1 (7.5%) untreated child who had a sustained ALT normalization but did not clear HCV RNA.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Hepacivirus / genetics
  • Hepatitis C / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha / administration & dosage
  • Interferon-alpha / adverse effects
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Viral / blood
  • Recombinant Proteins


  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha
  • RNA, Viral
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Alanine Transaminase