Histamine and the response to IFN-alpha in chronic hepatitis C.
Hellstrand K. Brune M. Mellqvist UH. Norkrans G. Lundberg PA. Hermodsson S. Wejstal R.
Department of Virology, University of Goteborg, Sweden.
Whole blood concentrations of histamine were examined in 20 patients with chronic hepatitis C after longterm treatment with interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha). In 13 of these patients, a transient (n = 5) or sustained (n = 8) normalization of liver enzymes and elimination of viral RNA were noted at the end of therapy. Seven patients did not respond to IFN-alpha. Nonresponding patients had significantly lower histamine levels in blood than transient (p = 0.0005) or sustained (p = 0.04) responders. Histamine levels were not different in patients with a sustained vs. a transient IFN response. Confounding factors, such as ongoing viral replication or liver cirrhosis, did not account for the differences in histamine levels. Our data suggest that hypohistaminism in peripheral blood may determine a poor response to IFN-alpha in chronic hepatitis C.
Discordance between serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and virologic response to IFN-alpha2b in chronic hepatitis C patients with high and low pretreatment serum hepatitis C virus RNA titers.
Blatt LM. Tong MJ. McHutchison JG. Russell J. Schmid P. Conrad A.
National Genetics Institute, Culver City, CA 90230, USA.
Although serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA concentrations are primary markers used to assess the clinical benefit of interferon (IFN) therapy in patients with chronic HCV infection, discrepancies between these two variables exist. In this study, 103 patients with chronic hepatitis C were treated with 3 MIU IFN-alpha2b three times weekly for 24 weeks, followed by 24 weeks of observation. ALT and virologic responses were compared in patients with high pretreatment HCV RNA titers (defined as pretreatment HCV RNA concentrations at or above the 75th percentile of the distribution or >5,000,000 copies/ml) and low pretreatment HCV RNA titers (defined as pretreatment concentrations below the 75th percentile or < or =5,000,000 copies/ml). Analysis of the virologic response for the high-titer and low-titer groups demonstrated a significantly greater HCV RNA sustained response in the low-titer group (21%) compared with the high-titer group (7%) (p < 0.05). In contrast, the ALT sustained response was not significantly different between the low-titer group (21%) and the high-titer group (18%). Analysis of the correspondence between biochemical and virologic responses showed that only 38% of patients with high pretreatment HCV RNA titers had both a sustained ALT response and a sustained loss of HCV RNA compared with 75% of patients with low pretreatment HCV RNA titers. The level of agreement between the ALT and HCV RNA responses was greater for the low-titer group compared with the high-titer group (kappa = .6848 and kappa = .4966, respectively). Our results indicate that chronic HCV patients with high pretreatment HCV RNA titers showed greater discordance between sustained ALT and HCV RNA responses compared with patients with low pretreatment HCV RNA titers and that measurement of HCV RNA should be included in the assessment of response to IFN therapy in chronic hepatitis C patients.
Treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus infection with recombinant consensus interferon.
Tong MJ. Blatt LM. Resser KJ. Klein MC. Cruickshank SE. Figueroa T. Sayadzadeh K.
The Liver Center, Huntington Memorial Hospital, Pasadena, CA 91105, USA.
To assess the safety and efficacy of consensus interferon (IFN-Con-1), 55 patients with chronic hepatitis C infection were treated with either 3, 6, 9, 12, or 15 microg IFN-Con-1 s.c. three times a week for 24 weeks, followed by 24 weeks of observation. There was a dose-response relationship with respect to the number of patients with normalized ALT concentrations or undetectable HCV RNA. At the end of the 24-week treatment period, the serum ALT had normalized in 18% of patients given the 3 microg dose and 42% of patients given the 12 microg or 15 microg doses of IFN-Con-1. At the end of the posttreatment observation period, the serum ALT was still normal in 10% of patients given the 3 microg, 6 microg, or 9 microg doses and in 50% of patients given the 15 microg dose. Also, at the end of the 24-week treatment period, 27% of patients given the 3 microg dose and 75% given the 15 microg dose had undetectable serum HCV RNA. At the end of the posttreatment observation period, the proportion of patients with undetectable HCV RNA ranged from 9% of those given the 3 microg dose to 50% of those given the 15 microg dose. Our study indicates that treatment with IFN-Con-1 appears to be safe and effective. In addition, use of 15 microg of IFN-Con-1 resulted in significantly more patients with sustained ALT normalization and absence of HCV RNA 6 months after cessation of therapy compared with treatment with lower doses of IFN-Con-1. Additional trials are underway to confirm these findings.