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Genes Affect Treatment in Patients with HIV, Hepatitis C

Gene polymorphism may influence efficacy of pegylated interferon in treatment of hepatitis C

THURSDAY, Sept. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Genetic factors can influence the degree to which persons co-infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV respond to pegylated interferon treatment, researchers report in the September issue of the Journal of Hepatology.

Golo Ahlenstiel, M.D., of the University of Bonn in Germany, and colleagues followed 112 patients co-infected with HIV and HCV, and 150 patients with chronic HCV genotype 1 infections, all being treated with pegylated interferon and ribavirin. The study targeted the G protein beta-3 unit (GNB3) C825T polymorphism.

Patients with the GNB3 825 CC genotype who were in the HIV/HCV co-infected group had significantly lower sustained virological response rates to treatment. The treatment response rate of those with the GNB3 825 genotype in the group infected with HCV alone were not affected. Study data suggest this outcome may be restricted to patients infected with HCV genotypes 1 and 4, but small sample sizes of patients with genotypes 2 or 3 infections make that conclusion tentative.

"In conclusion," the authors write, "our data emphasize the importance of genetic factors for the response to HCV-specific therapy which may become unmasked in conditions of immunosuppression such as occurs in HCV/HIV co-infected patients."

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