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Dual therapy with peg-interferon and ribavirin in thalassemia major patients with chronic HCV infection: Is there still an indication?

  • Authors: Di Marco, V.; D'Ambrosio, R.; Bronte, F.; Saracco, G.; Lanza, A.; Forni, G.; Poggiali, E.; Calvaruso, V.; Borsellino, G.; Cuccia, L.; Gerardi, C.; Maggio, A.; Madonia, S.; Fiorenza, F.; Salvo, A.; Caruso, V.; Russello, M.; Fidone, C.; Davã¬, A.; Squadrito, G.; Aulenti, G.; Filosa, A.; Cianciulli, P.; Lai, M.; Piga, A.; on behalf ITHACA (Italy for THAalassemia, ; Advances) Group, H.; Null,
  • Publication year: 2016
  • Type: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • Key words: Cirrhosis; Hepatitis C virus; IL28B polymorphisms; Iron liver overload; Peg-interferon; Ribavirin; Sustained virological response; Thalassemia major; Adult; Antiviral Agents; Drug Therapy, Combination; Female; Heart Diseases; Hepacivirus; Hepatitis C, Chronic; Humans; Interferon-alpha; Interleukins; Italy; Liver Cirrhosis; Logistic Models; Male; Multivariate Analysis; Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide; Retrospective Studies; Ribavirin; Treatment Outcome; Viral Load; beta-Thalassemia; Hepatology; Gastroenterology
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Background: Iron overload and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection together can lead to chronic liver damage in thalassemia major (TM) patients. Aims: We investigated viral, genetic, and disease factors influencing sustained virological response (SVR) after peg-interferon and ribavirin therapy in TM patients with HCV infection. Methods: We analyzed 230 TM patients with HCV infection (mean age 36.0 ± 6.3 years; 59.1% genotype 1; 32.2% genotype 2; 3.4% genotype 3; and 5.3% genotype 4; 28.7% carried CC allele of rs12979860 in IL28B locus; 79.6% had chronic hepatitis and 20.4% cirrhosis; 63.5% naive and 36.5% previously treated with interferon alone) treated in 14 Italian centers. Results: By multivariate regression analysis SVR was independently associated with CC allele of IL28B SNP (OR 2.98; CI 95% 1.29-6.86; p = 0.010) and rapid virologic response (OR 11.82; CI 95% 3.83-36.54; p < 0.001) in 136 genotype 1 patients. Combining favorable variables the probability of SVR ranged from 31% to 93%. In genotype 2 patients, only RVR (OR 8.61; CI 95% 2.85-26.01; p < 0.001) was associated with SVR higher than 80%. In 3 patients with cirrhosis a decompensation of liver or heart disease were observed. Over 50% of patients increased blood transfusions. Conclusion: Dual therapy in TM patients with chronic HCV infection is efficacious in patients with the best virological, genetic and clinical predictors. Patients with cirrhosis have an increased risk of worsening liver or heart disease.