IL28B polymorphisms predict reduction of HCV RNA from the first day of therapy in chronic hepatitis

Background & aims

Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with IL28B influence the outcome of peginterferon-α/ribavirin therapy of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. We analyzed the kinetics of HCV RNA during therapy as a function of IL28B SNPs.


IL28B SNPs rs8099917, rs12979860, and rs12980275 were genotyped in 242 HCV treatment-naïve Caucasian patients (67% genotype 1, 28% genotype 2 or 3) receiving peginterferon-α2a (180 μg weekly) and ribavirin (1000-1200 mg daily) with serial HCV-RNA quantifications. Associations between IL28B polymorphisms and early viral kinetics were assessed, accounting for relevant covariates.


In the multivariate analyses for genotype 1 patients, the T allele of rs12979860 (T(rs12979860)) was an independent risk factor for a less pronounced first phase HCV RNA decline (log(10) 0.89IU/ml among T carriers vs. 2.06 among others, adjusted p < 0.001) and lower rapid (15% vs. 38%, adjusted p = 0.007) and sustained viral response rates (48% vs. 66%, adjusted p < 0.001). In univariate analyses, T(rs12979860) was also associated with a reduced second phase decline (p = 0.002), but this association was no longer significant after adjustment for the first phase decline (adjusted p = 0.8). In genotype 2/3 patients, T(rs12979860) was associated with a reduced first phase decline (adjusted p = 0.04), but not with a second phase decline.


Polymorphisms in IL28B are strongly associated with the first phase viral decline during peginterferon-α/ribavirin therapy of chronic HCV infection, irrespective of HCV genotype.

2011 J Hepatol.
Bochud PY, Bibert S, Negro F, Haagmans B, Soulier A, Ferrari C, Missale G,Zeuzem S, Pawlotsky JM, Schalm S, Hellstrand K, Neumann AU, Lagging M.