Background: Despite the introduction of direct-acting antiviral agents for chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, peginterferon alfa/ribavirin remains relevant in many resource-constrained settings. The non-randomized GUARD-C cohort investigated baseline predictors of safety-related dose reductions or discontinuations (sr-RD) and their impact on sustained virologic response (SVR) in patients receiving peginterferon alfa/ribavirin in routine practice. Methods: A total of 3181 HCV-mono-infected treatment-naive patients were assigned to 24 or 48 weeks of peginterferon alfa/ribavirin by their physician. Patients were categorized by time-to-first sr-RD (Week 4/12). Detailed analyses of the impact of sr-RD on SVR24 (HCV RNA <50 IU/mL) were conducted in 951 Caucasian, noncirrhotic genotype (G)1 patients assigned to peginterferon alfa-2a/ribavirin for 48 weeks. The probability of SVR24 was identified by a baseline scoring system (range: 0-9 points) on which scores of 5 to 9 and <5 represent high and low probability of SVR24, respectively. Results: SVR24 rates were 46.1 % (754/1634), 77.1% (279/362), 68.0% (514/756), and 51.3% (203/396), respectively, in G1,2, 3, and 4 patients. Overall, 16.9% and 21.8% patients experienced ≥1 sr-RD for peginterferon alfa and ribavirin, respectively. Among Caucasian noncirrhotic G1 patients: female sex, lower body mass index, pre-existing cardiovascular/pulmonary disease, and low hematological indices were prognostic factors of sr-RD; SVR24 was lower in patients with ≥1 vs. no sr-RD by Week 4 (37.9% vs. 54.4%; P = 0.0046) and Week 12 (41.7% vs. 55.3%; P = 0.0016); sr-RD by Week 4/12 significantly reduced SVR24 in patients with scores <5 but not ≥5. Conclusions: In conclusion, sr-RD to peginterferon alfa-2a/ribavirin significantly impacts on SVR24 rates in treatment-naive G1 noncirrhotic Caucasian patients. Baseline characteristics can help select patients with a high probability of SVR24 and a low probability of sr-RD with peginter-feron alfa-2a/ribavirin.
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© 2016 Foster et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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