Baseline Serum Cholesterol Is Associated with a Response to Pegylated Interferon Alfa-2b and Ribavirin Therapy for Chronic Hepatitis C Genotype 2
Background. HCV infection is associated with lipid disorders because this virus utilizes the host lipid metabolism to sustain its life cycle. Several studies have indicated that higher concentrations of serum cholesterol and LDL before treatment are important predictors of higher rates of sustained virological response (SVR). However, most of these studies involved patients infected with HCV genotype 1. Thus, we performed a multi-institutional clinical study to evaluate the impact of lipid profiles on SVR rates in patients with HCV genotype 2. Methods. A total of 100 chronic hepatitis C patients with HCV genotype 2 who received peg-IFN alfa-2b and ribavirin therapy were consecutively enrolled. The significance of age, sex, BMI, AST level, ALT level, WBC, hemoglobin, platelet count, gamma-glutamyltransferase, total cholesterol level (TC), LDL level, HCV RNA, and histological evaluation was examined for SVR using logistic regression analysis. Results. The 100 patients infected with HCV genotype 2 were divided into 2 groups, an SVR group and a non-SVR group. Characteristics of each group were subsequently compared. There was no significant difference in the level of HCV RNA, BMI, platelet, TG, or stage of fibrosis between the groups. However, there were significant differences in the levels of TC and LDL-C. In multivariate logistic regression analysis using baseline characteristics, high TC level was an independent and significant risk factor (relative risk 18.59, P = 0.015) for SVR. Conclusion. Baseline serum total cholesterol levels should be considered when assessing the likelihood of sustained treatment response following the course of peg-IFN and ribavirin therapy in patients with chronic HCV genotype 2 infection.