Interferon is a pleiotropic cytokine that displays antifibrotic, antiviral, and antiproliferative activity.
Dr Paul Pockros and colleagues from California assessed 502 patients with compensated liver disease and an Ishak fibrosis score of 4 to 6.
The research team conducted a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.
The team reported that 488 of the patients received subcutaneous injections of interferon-1b.
The team randomised 169 patients to 100 g to interferon, 157 patients to 200 g, or 162 to placebo 3 times a week for 48 weeks.
Most patients had cirrhosis at baseline.
|Ishak score did not improve between the 3 treatment groups|
The researchers assessed posttreatment liver biopsies in a blinded fashion for a reduction of 1 or more Ishak points.
The research team reported that 420 patients with pretreatment and posttreatment liver biopsies were evaluable.
There was no improvement in Ishak score between the 3 treatment groups.
Interferon-inducible T cell-alpha chemo attractant was an independent predictor of stable or improving Ishak score.
The team found that interferon was well tolerated.
The researchers observed that there were similar numbers of deaths in all 3 arms, and most were related to complications of cirrhosis.
Dr Pockros' team concluded, “Interferon therapy was not able to reverse fibrosis in patients with advanced liver disease for 1 year.”
“Subgroups of patients with elevated interferon-inducible T cell-alpha chemoattractant levels and perhaps less advanced disease may be considered for future studies with interferon.”