A recent study conducted by researchers from several universities and the U.S. National Cancer Institute points to the significant, non-genetic factors determining the likelihood that a patient with hepatitis C (HCV) and hemophilia will “clear” the virus. Patients are designated as clear when molecular tests (assays) show undetectable levels of HCV. Patient data utilized for the research was taken from the Second Multi-center Hemophilia Cohort Study. The study focused on HCV-infected, HIV-negative patients with hemophilia who were never treated with interferon. A total of 712 patients were included in the study.
Investigators found that patients who were infected before the age of two or after 1983 (40.1%), were more likely to spontaneously clear HCV infection in contrast with patients infected after age 15 (14.9%). In addition, those patients co-infected with chronic hepatitis B (HBV) and HCV also achieved a higher HCV clearance rate. Subjects of African ancestry experienced a slightly reduced rate of HCV clearance. Neither hemophilia severity, type of clotting factor treatment, nor gender were associated with HCV clearance.
Mingdong Zhang, MD, PhD is with the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute and a co-investigator of the study. “These data highlight and clarify the importance of non-genetic determinants in spontaneous recovery from HCV infection,” reported Dr. Zhang. The study, entitled, “Correlates of Spontaneous Clearance of Hepatitis C Virus Among People with Hemophilia,” was published in the February 1, 2006 issue of Blood.
Source: Gastroenterology Week, February 27, 2006