Aim: To confirm the predictive factors for interferon (IFN)-α and ribavirin combination therapy for chronic hepatitis patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1b. Methods: HCV RNA from 50 patients infected with HCV genotype 1b was studied by cloning and sequencing of interferon sensitivity determining region (ISDR), PKR-eIF2α phosphorylation homology domain (PePHD). Patients were treated with IFN-α and ribavirin for 6 mo and grouped by effectiveness of the therapy. A variety of factors were analyzed. Results: Our data showed that age, HCV RNA titer, and ISDR type could be used as the predictive factors for combined IFN-α and ribavirin efficacy. Characteristically, mutations in PePHD appeared only when the combination therapy was effective. Other factors, such as sex and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) level, were not related to its efficacy. Adjusting for age and HCV RNA titer indicated that the ISDR type was the most potent predictive factor. Conclusion: HCV RNA ISDR type is an important factor for predicting efficacy of IFN-α and ribavirin combination therapy in Korean patients.
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