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

Senegal monitors contacts of 1st Ebola patient

1 hour ago

Senegalese authorities on Monday were monitoring everyone who was in contact with a student infected with Ebola who crossed into the country, and who has lost three family members to the disease.

Cerebral palsy may be hereditary

7 hours ago

Cerebral palsy is a neurological developmental disorder which follows an injury to the immature brain before, during or after birth. The resulting condition affects the child's ability to move and in some ...

19 new dengue cases in Japan, linked to Tokyo park

13 hours ago

Japan is urging local authorities to be on the lookout for further outbreaks of dengue fever, after confirming another 19 cases that were contracted at a popular local park in downtown Tokyo.

User comments