The researchers compared viral kinetics in patients with chronic hepatitis C treated with standard or peginterferon alpha-2a.
They reported their findings in the May issue of Gastroenterology.
|Infected cell degradation rates for HCV type-1:|
Standard treatment: 0.02/day
Peginterferon alpha-2a: 0.06/day
Patients were randomly assigned to receive either standard interferon alpha-2a thrice weekly (n = 16) or 180 µg peginterferon alpha-2a once weekly (n = 17) for 48 weeks.
HCV RNA was quantitated before and frequently during treatment.
The extent of the second-phase decline of HCV RNA, representing the degradation rate of infected cells during therapy for responding patients was assessed.
For patients given standard therapy, the degradation rates were 0.02 per day and 0.88 per day, for HCV genotype 1 and non-1, respectively. In subjects treated with peginterferon alpha-2a, the rates were 0.06 per day and 0.44 per day.
The second-phase decline was low (less than 0.05 per day) in most patients without a virological end-of-treatment response. It was high (greater than 0.25 per day) in all patients with sustained virological response.
Researcher Stefan Zeuzem, of Frankfurt, Germany, said on behalf of the group, "The degradation rate of infected cells is HCV genotype-dependent.
"Treatment with peginterferon alpha-2a may increase the death rate of infected cells (particularly in HCV-type 1-infected patients) or stabilize the therapeutic effect on viral production."
"The second-phase decline of HCV RNA is predictive of virological sustained response," he concluded.