Predicting hepatitis C treatment success

Levels of interferon-stimulated genes in the liver and blood could help predict if a patient with hepatitis C will respond to conventional therapy, researchers at Kanazawa University suggest.

A combined therapy using interferons and ribavirin is often used to treat C, but around half of patients are unresponsive and suffer relapse. Previous research has shown that variations in a gene called interleukin 28B (IL28B) render a patient either sensitive to treatment or completely resistant to it. However, the mechanisms relating the IL28B gene to the treatment are not well understood.

Now, Shuichi Kaneko and colleagues at Kanazawa University have discovered that, in therapy-resistant patients, interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) expression is up-regulated in the liver but down-regulated in the blood - a significantly different pattern of ISG expression to therapy-responsive patients.

The team analyzed liver and blood samples from hepatitis C patients taken before treatment, and found that fewer immune cells reached the livers of patients with the therapy-resistant genotype. The team believe this lack of may induce higher levels of other inflammatory proteins, such as WNT5A. Higher WNT5A levels in the therapy-resistant both enhanced the expression of ISGs in the liver and increased hepatitis C viral replication. The researchers hope that further research will clarify these mechanisms with regard to treatment response.

In the meantime, measuring ISG expression patterns in blood and samples could provide a useful way of predicting a patient's response to interferon / ribavirin therapy.

More information: Honda, M., Shirasaki, T., Shimakami, T., Sakai, A., Horii, R., Arai, K., Yamashita, T., Sakai, Y., Yamashita, T., Okada, H., Murai, K., Nakamura, M., Mizukoshi, E. and Kaneko, S. (2014), "Hepatic interferon-stimulated genes are differentially regulated in the liver of chronic hepatitis C patients with different interleukin-28B genotypes." Hepatology, 59: 828–838. doi: 10.1002/hep.26788

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New combination therapy for hepatitis C

May 05, 2014

A new combination therapy allows chronic hepatitis C to be treated in a manner that is less aggressive yet equally efficient. This is the result of a current study, led by primary author Peter Ferenci from ...

Good news for some hard-to-treat hepatitis C patients

Jun 16, 2009

In a multi-center trial led by a Saint Louis University researcher, investigators found that a new combination therapy of daily consensus interferon and ribavirin helps some hepatitis C patients who have not responded to ...

Recommended for you

Recorded Ebola deaths top 7,000

8 hours ago

The worst Ebola outbreak on record has now killed more than 7,000 people, with many of the latest deaths reported in Sierra Leone, the World Health Organization said as United Nations Secretary-General Ban ...

Liberia holds Senate vote amid Ebola fears (Update)

12 hours ago

Health workers manned polling stations across Liberia on Saturday as voters cast their ballots in a twice-delayed Senate election that has been criticized for its potential to spread the deadly Ebola disease.

Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

Dec 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—For appropriately selected patients with psoriasis, combining biologics with other systemic treatments, including phototherapy, oral medications, or other biologic, may result in greater efficacy ...

Bacteria in caramel apples kills at least four in US

Dec 19, 2014

A listeria outbreak believed to originate from commercially packaged caramel apples has killed at least four people in the United States and sickened 28 people since November, officials said Friday.

Steroid-based treatment may answer needs of pediatric EoE patients

Dec 19, 2014

A new formulation of oral budesonide suspension, a steroid-based treatment, is safe and effective in treating pediatric patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.