Introduction Chronic Hepatitis C affects over 170 million people world wide. Of the 4 main genotypes, genotype 3 is common in South East Asia, particularly Pakistan, and in Europe represents up to 45% of newly diagnosed infections.1 Although it is well established that ethnicity impacts on response rates (sustained virological response (SVR) rates) for Hepatitis C virus (HCV) Genotype 1 infections, there is controversy over whether ethnicity impacts on SVR rates in HCV genotype 3 infections.2 3 In this study we performed a retrospective analysis of patients with genotype 3 HCV infections who had undergone treatment in a busy District General Hospital over the last 4 years to assess whether ethnicity impacted on SVR rates.
Methods All patients treated with standard therapy (pegylated interferon and ribavirin) over the last 4 years were studied and factors which are known to influence response rates together with ethnicity were examined in patients with genotype 3 chronic hepatitis C infection.
Results In total 630 patients were undergoing/had undergone standard treatment for chronic hepatitis C infection in our hospital over the last 4 years. Of these 147 were identified as being HCV genotype 3 infections. 80 of these patients had completed a course of treatment and had at least 6 months of follow-up (for assessment of SVR rates). These patients were divided into those from South East Asia (43 patients) and European patients (37 patients). Of the patients of Asian ethnicity 36 achieved an SVR (83.7%), six relapsed (13.9%) and one was a non-responder (2.4%). Of the patients of European ethnicity 31 achieved an SVR (83.8%), five relapsed (13.5%) and one was a non responder (2.7%). There was no significant statistical difference in SVR rates in patients from South East Asia (83.7% SVR) compared with patients of European origin (83.8%) (p<0.01).
Conclusion In this retrospective cohort study SVR rates in patients with genotype 3 chronic hepatitis C infection were not affected by ethnicity. Those patients who did not achieve SVR and failed standard therapy were predominantly relapsers as opposed to non-responders.
Competing interests None declared.
References 1. Esteban J, et al. The changing epidemiology of hepatitis C virus infection in Europe. J Hepatol 2008;48:148–62.
2. Foster G, et al. Response to antiviral therapy in patients with genotype 3 chronic hepatitis C: fibrosis but not race encourages relapse. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2011;23:747–53.
3. Mutimer D, et al. Inferior response of Asian versus non-Asian hepatitis C genotype 3 infection to combination antiviral therapy. J Viral Hepat 2008;15:115–19.