Monitoring of HCV-RNA in blood during antiviral therapy is performed mostly by commercially available reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction-based (RT-PCR) assays, with a lower detection limit of 30-50 IU/mL of HCV-RNA. Use of different tests in the pivotal trials of combination therapy has generated some discordance, in terms of predictive value of the early virological response (EVR). To evaluate whether the use of a more sensitive test, as a qualitative assay based on transcription mediated amplification (TMA) with a lower detection limit of 5-10 IU/mL of HCV-RNA, may obtain a better prediction of EVR and of the ultimate virological outcome, we retrospectively evaluated serial samples from 108 naïve patients with HCV genotype 1 chronic hepatitis, treated with pegylated alpha2b interferon plus ribavirin for 48 weeks and with a 24 weeks stopping rule. Serum samples of patients, obtained during treatment at weeks 4, 12, 24 and 48 and after treatment at week 24, were evaluated by TMA. Comparison of the RT-PCR and TMA assays for the qualitative detection of HCV-RNA showed no significant differences in performance when these tests were used at the end of the treatment period for assessing patients without an on-treatment virological response and those who eventually obtain a sustained virological response. Our results show instead that the use of TMA assay to detect HCV-RNA at 12 and 24 weeks of the combination therapy is more effective than RT-PCR in identifying patients with the highest probability of sustained HCV-RNA clearance.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Journal of Viral Hepatitis|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases