Table of Contents
Hepatitis Research and Treatment
Volume 2010, Article ID 140953, 12 pages
Review Article

Evolution of Interferon-Based Therapy for Chronic Hepatitis C

1Digestive Division, Department of Internal Medicine, Kaohsiung Municipal United Hospital, Kaohsiung 804, Taiwan
2Department of Internal Medicine, Kaohsiung Municipal Ta-Tung Hospital, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung 807, Taiwan

Received 15 May 2010; Accepted 23 August 2010

Academic Editor: Tatehiro Kagawa

Copyright © 2010 Chun-Hao Chen and Ming-Lung Yu. 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.


Since 1986, interferon-alfa (IFN- 𝛼 ) monotherapy has been administered for patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC). However, sustained response rate is only about 8% to 9%. Subsequent introduction of ribavirin in combination with IFN- 𝛼 was a major breakthrough in the treatment of CHC. Sustained virological responses (SVRs) rate is about 30% in hepatitis C virus genotype 1 (HCV-1) patients, and is about 65% in HCV-2 or -3 patients. After 2000, pegylated interferon (PegIFN) much improved the rates of SVR. Presently, PegIFN- 𝛼 -ribavirin combination therapy has been current standard of care for patients infected with HCV. In patients with HCV-1, treatment for 48 weeks is optimal, but 24 weeks of treatment is sufficient in HCV-2 or -3 infected patients. Clinical factors have been identified as predictors for the efficacy of the IFN-based therapy. The baseline factor most strongly predictive of an SVR is the presence of HCV-2 or -3 infections. Rapid virological response (RVR) is the single best predictor of an SVR to PegIFN-ribavirin therapy. If patients can't achieve a RVR but achieve a complete early virological response (cEVR), treatment with current standard of care can provide more than 90% SVR rate. HCV-1 patients who do not achieve an EVR should discontinue the therapy. Recent advances of protease inhibitor may contribute the development of a novel triple combination therapy.