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News

Effect of peginterferon alfa-2a on liver histology in chronic hepatitis C

Fibrosis is significantly reduced in patients with chronic hepatitis C who are treated with peginterferon alfa-2a, find physicians in the February issue of Hepatology.

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Previous studies have determined that pegylated interferon (peginterferon) alfa-2a is more effective than conventional interferon alfa-2a (IFN) in patients with chronic hepatitis C.

In this study, an international team of physicians conducted a meta-analysis of 1013 previously untreated patients from 3 randomized trials.

All patients had pre- and post-treatment liver biopsies.

The team evaluated the effect of peginterferon alfa-2a and IFN on patients' liver histology.
There was no significant reduction in fibrosis in nonresponders.
Hepatology

The physicians found that peginterferon alfa-2a significantly reduced fibrosis in patients with chronic hepatitis C, compared with IFN. They observed a reduction in fibrosis in sustained virologic responders and patients with recurrent disease. The team did not find a significant reduction in nonresponders.

Using logistic regression analysis, the physicians found that patients with sustained virologic responses (SVRs) had an odds ratio (OR) of 1.61 for reduction in fibrosis compared with patients without SVRs.

However, obese patients had an OR of 0.56 for reduction in fibrosis compared with normal-weight and overweight patients.

Dr Calogero Cammá's team concluded, "In patients with chronic hepatitis C with or without cirrhosis, peginterferon alfa-2a (relative to IFN) significantly reduced fibrosis".

"The beneficial effects of peginterferon on liver histology are closely related to virologic response".

Hepatology 2004; 39(2): 333-42
04 February 2004

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