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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2009, Article ID 812140, 5 pages
Research Article

Impact of Hepatitis B Exposure on Sustained Virological Response Rates of Highly Viremic Chronic Hepatitis C Patients

1University Department of Internal Medicine, Hepatology Unit, “Elena Venizelou” Hospital, 11521 Athens, Greece
2Carchidonos 9, A. Glyfada, 16562, Greece
3Reference Center for Viral Hepatitis, I.K.A, Athens, Greece

Received 2 October 2008; Accepted 9 February 2009

Academic Editor: Vasundhara Tolia

Copyright © 2009 Ioannis S. Elefsiniotis et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Aim. To evaluate the impact of hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc) seropositivity in sustained virological response (SVR) rates in treatment-naïve, chronic hepatitis C (CHC) patients with high pretreatment viral load ( 800000 IU/mL). Methods. 185 consecutive CHC patients (14.4% cirrhotics, 70.2% prior intravenous drug users) treated with pegylated interferon-a2b plus ribavirin, for 24 or 48 weeks based on viral genotype, were retrospectively analyzed. SVR was confirmed by undetectable serum HCV-RNA six months after the end of treatment schedule. Results. Thirty percent of CHC/HBsAg-negative patients were anti-HBc-positive. Anti-HBc positivity was more prevalent in cirrhotic, compared to noncirrhotic patients (76.9% versus 19.5%, ). Serum HBV-DNA was detected in the minority of anti-HBc-positive patients (1.97%). Overall, 62.1% of patients exhibited SVR, while 28.6% did not; 71.4% of non-SVRs were infected with genotype 1. In the univariate analysis, the anti-HBc positivity was negatively associated with treatment outcome ( ). In the multivariate model, only the advanced stage of liver disease ( ) and genotype-1 HCV infection ( ), but not anti-HBc-status ( ), proved to be independent predictors of non-SVR. Conclusion. Serum anti-HBc positivity does not affect the SVR rates in treatment-naïve CHC patients with high pretreatment viral load, receiving the currently approved combination treatment.