Genotype 4 HCV infection is difficult to cure with pegylated interferon and ribavirin. Results from a Greek Nationwide Cohort Study
AuthorAnagnostou, O.; Manolakopoulos, S.; Bakoyannis, G.; Papatheodoridis, G.; Zisouli, A.; Raptopoulou-Gigi, M.; Manesis, E.; Ketikoglou, I.; Dalekos, G.; Gogos, C.; Vassiliadis, T.; Tzourmakliotis, D.; Karatapanis, S.; Kanatakis, S.; Zoumpoulis-Vafiadis, I.; Hounta, A.; Koutsounas, S.; Giannoulis, G.; Tassopoulos, N.; Touloumi, G.
Background and aim: Patients with genotype 4 (G4) chronic hepatitis C (CHC) are considered a difficult to treat population, although current data on G4 treatment responsiveness and duration are controversial. Greece represents a country with an intermediate prevalence of G4 infections, offering an opportunity to compare treatment outcomes by genotype and to identify potential prognostic factors for sustained virologic response (SVR). Methods: All CHC patients from the HepNet. Greece, an ongoing nationwide cohort study on viral hepatitis, with known hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype who received treatment with Peg-IFNa and ribavirin were analyzed. Results: From 4443 patients, 951 (61.7% males, 78.4% Greeks, median age 40.6 years, 10% cirrhosis) fulfilled the inclusion criteria. G4 was found in 125 (13.1%) patients. Genotype distribution was not significantly different between Greeks and immigrants. Patients with G4 had similar odds of SVR compared to G1 but significantly lower compared to G2/G3. Age, treatment discontinuation, presence of cirrhosis and previous history of HCV-treatment were associated with lower probabilities of SVR. Ethnicity did not affect SVR for all genotypes while response to treatment was similar between Greek and Egyptian patients groups (35.7% vs 40.9%, p= 0.660%) with G4 infection. The relation between SVR and genotype did not substantially change after adjustment for age, gender, cirrhosis, treatment interruption and history of HCV-treatment. Conclusions: The findings of this large cohort of CHC patients with a well balanced genotype distribution further supports the idea of considering G4 as a difficult to treat genotype. Further investigation is needed to identify genotype specific prognostic factors.