The natural history of chronic Hepatitis C and treatment response are different between blacks and Caucasians, but little comparable data is available about Latinos.
Dr Ramsey Cheung and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional secondary analysis in 24 VA medical centers enrolled in a prospective study.
The researchers investigated differences between 421 anti-Hepatitis C-positive, treatment-naïve, Hepatitis C-viremic Latinos and 2510 Caucasians.
| Latino ethnicity was associated with early discontinuation of treatment|
|American Journal of Gastroenterology|
The team found that Latinos were infected at a younger age and were less likely to have blood contact during combat, surgery, and needle stick injury.
The research team also noted that Latinos were more frequently HIV coinfected and prior HAV infection.
Latinos were more likely to be treatment candidates, but less likely to actually initiate treatment.
The researchers noted that liver histology showed no difference in fibrosis or fibrosis rate, but steatosis was more common in Latinos.
The team reported that 88 Latinos and 481 Caucasians were subsequently treated with interferon-ribavirin.
Body mass index, duration of infection, baseline tests, liver histology and genotype distribution were similar after interferon-ribavirin.
Compared with Caucasians, the team noted that Latinos discontinued treatment prematurely more often.
The researchers also noted that, compared with Caucasians, Latinos tended to have lower sustained virological response rates.
Multivariate analysis found Latino race and history of recent alcohol use to be associated with early treatment discontinuation.
The researchers found that genotype and viral load but not ethnicity were associated with sustained virological response rates.
Dr Cheung's team commented, “Latinos were infected younger, more frequently HIV coinfected, and more likely to meet criteria for antiviral therapy.”
“However, Latinos were less likely to initiate treatment and had a trend toward lower sustained virological responase rates than Caucasians, but not in severity of liver disease.”
“Latino ethnicity was associated with early discontinuation but not as an independent predictor of sustained virological response.”