Background and Aims: Patients infected with genotype 2b hepatitis C virus (HCV) generally can achieve favorable responses to pegylated-interferon plus ribavirin therapy (PEG-IFN/RBV). However, a proportion of patients show poorer responses and the correlation between viral sequence variation and treatment outcome remains unclear. Methods: The pretreatment complete open reading frame (ORF) sequences of genotype 2b HCV determined by direct sequencing were investigated for correlation with the final outcome in a total of 60 patients. Results: In this study group, 87.5% (14/16) of non-sustained virological response (non-SVR) patients (n = 16) were relapsers. Compared to sustained virological response (SVR) patients (n = 44), non-SVR patients were older and could not achieve prompt viral clearance after the therapy induction. Comparing each viral protein between the two groups, viral sequences were more diverse in SVR patients and that diversity was found primarily in the E1, p7, and NS5A proteins. In searching for specific viral regions associated with the final outcome, several regions in E2, p7, NS2, NS5A, and NS5B were extracted. Among these regions, part of the interferon sensitivity determining region (ISDR) was included. In these regions, amino acid substitutions were associated with the final outcome in an incremental manner, depending upon the number of substitutions. Conclusions: Viral sequences are more diverse in SVR patients than non-SVR patients receiving PEG-IFN/RBV therapy for genotype-2b HCV infection. Through systematic comparison of viral sequences, several specific regions, including part of the ISDR, were extracted as having significant correlation with the final outcome. © 2011 Kadokura et al.
Kadokura, M., Maekawa, S., Sueki, R., Miura, M., Komase, K., Shindo, H., … Enomoto, N. (2011). Analysis of the complete open reading frame of genotype 2b hepatitis C virus in association with the response to peginterferon and ribavirin therapy. PLoS ONE, 6(9). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0024514