HCV NS3 sequencing as a reliable and clinically useful tool for the assessment of genotype and resistance mutations for clinical samples with different HCV-RNA levels

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Objectives: This study aims to evaluate the reliability and clinical utility of NS3 sequencing in hepatitis C virus (HCV) 1-infected patients who were candidates to start a PI-containing regimen. Methods: NS3 protease sequencing was performed by in-house-developed HCV-1 subtype-specific protocols. Phylogenetic analysis was used to test sequencing reliability and concordance with previous genotype/subtype assignment by commercial genotyping assays. Results: Five hundred and sixty-seven HCV plasma samples with quantifiable HCV-RNA from 326 HCV-infected patients were collected between 2011 and 2014. Overall, the success rate of NS3 sequencing was 88.9%. The success rate between the two subtype protocols (HCV-1a/HCV-1b) was similarly high for samples with HCV-RNA > 3 log IU/mL (>92% success rate), while it was slightly lower for HCV-1a samples with HCV-RNA ⤠3 log IU/mL compared with HCV-1b samples. Phylogenetic analysis confirmed the genotype/subtype given by commercial genotyping assays in 92.9% (303/326) of cases analysed. In the remaining 23 cases (7.1%), 1 was HCV-1g (previously defined as subtype 1a), 1 was HCV-4d (previously defined as genotype 1b) and 1 was HCV-1b (previously defined as genotype 2a/2c). In the other cases, NS3 sequencing precisely resolved the either previous undetermined/discordant subtype 1 or double genotype/subtype assignment by commercial genotyping assays. Resistance-associated variants (RAVs) to PI were detected in 31.0% of samples. This prevalence changed according to PI experience (17.1% in PI-naive patients versus 79.2% in boceprevir/telaprevir/simeprevir-failing patients). Among 96 patients with available virological outcome following boceprevir/telaprevir treatment, a trend of association between baseline NS3 RAVs and virological failure was observed (particularly for HCV-1a-infected patients: 3/21 failing patients versus 0/22 achieving sustained virological response; P = 0.11). Conclusions: HCV-NS3 sequencing provides reliable results and at the same time gives two clinically relevant pieces of information: A correct subtype/genotype assignment and the detection of variants that may interfere with the efficacy of PI.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)739-750
Numero di pagine12
RivistaJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2016


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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