Impact of Soluble CD26 on Treatment Outcome and Hepatitis C Virus-Specific T Cells in Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Genotype 1 Infection
Avidan U. Neumann
Bart L. Haagmans
- Background: Interferon and ribavirin therapy for chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection yields sustained virological response (SVR) rates of 50–80%. Several factors such as non-1 genotype, beneficial IL28B genetic variants, low baseline IP-10, and the functionality of HCV-specific T cells predict SVR. With the pending introduction of new therapies for HCV entailing very rapid clearance of plasma HCV RNA, the importance of baseline biomarkers likely will increase in order to tailor therapy. CD26 (DPPIV) truncates the chemokine IP-10 into a shorter antagonistic form, and this truncation of IP-10 has been suggested to influence treatment outcome in patients with chronic HCV infection patients. In addition, previous reports have shown CD26 to be a co-stimulator for T cells. The aim of the present study was to assess the utility of CD26 as a biomarker for treatment outcome in chronic hepatitis C and to define its association with HCV-specific T cells.
Methods: Baseline plasma from 153 genotype 1 and 58 genotype 2/3 infected patients enrolled in an international multicenter phase III trial (DITTO-HCV) and 36 genotype 1 infected patients participating in a Swedish trial (TTG1) were evaluated regarding baseline soluble CD26 (sCD26) and the functionality of HCV-specific CD8+ T cells.
Results: Genotype 1 infected patients achieving SVR in the DITTO (P = 0.002) and the TTG1 (P = 0.02) studies had lower pretreatment sCD26 concentrations compared with non-SVR patients. Sixty-five percent of patients with sCD26 concentrations below 600 ng/mL achieved SVR compared with 39% of the patients with sCD26 exceeding 600 ng/mL (P = 0.01). Patients with sCD26 concentrations below 600 ng/mL had significantly higher frequencies of HCV-specific CD8+ T cells (P = 0.02).
Conclusions: Low baseline systemic concentrations of sCD26 predict favorable treatment outcome in chronic HCV infection and may be associated with higher blood counts of HCV-specific CD8+ T cells.
52-Week Efficacy and Safety of Telbivudine with Conditional Tenofovir Intensification at Week 24 in HBeAg-Positive Chronic Hepatitis B
Henry L. Y. Chan
Mário G. Pessôa
Suzane K. Ono
- Background and Aims: The Roadmap concept is a therapeutic framework in chronic hepatitis B for the intensification of nucleoside analogue monotherapy based on early virologic response. The efficacy and safety of this approach applied to telbivudine treatment has not been investigated.
Methods: A multinational, phase IV, single-arm open-label study (ClinicalTrials.gov ID NCT00651209) was undertaken in HBeAg-positive, nucleoside-naive adult patients with chronic hepatitis B. Patients received telbivudine (600 mg once-daily) for 24 weeks, after which those with undetectable serum HBV DNA (<300 copies/mL) continued to receive telbivudine alone while those with detectable DNA received telbivudine plus tenofovir (300 mg once-daily). Outcomes were assessed at Week 52.
Results: 105 patients commenced telbivudine monotherapy, of whom 100 were included in the efficacy analysis. Fifty-five (55%) had undetectable HBV DNA at Week 24 and continued telbivudine monotherapy; 45 (45%) received tenofovir intensification. At Week 52, the overall proportion of undetectable HBV DNA was 93% (93/100) by last-observation-carried-forward analysis (100% monotherapy group, 84% intensification group) and no virologic breakthroughs had occurred. ALT normalization occurred in 77% (87% monotherapy, 64% intensification), HBeAg clearance in 43% (65% monotherapy, 16% intensification), and HBeAg seroconversion in 39% (62% monotherapy, 11% intensification). Six patients had HBsAg clearance. Myalgia was more common in the monotherapy group (19% versus 7%). No decrease in the mean glomerular filtration rate occurred in either treatment group at Week 52.
Conclusions: Telbivudine therapy with tenofovir intensification at Week 24, where indicated by the Roadmap strategy, appears effective and well tolerated for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B.
Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00651209
Interleukin-22 predicts severity and death in advanced liver cirrhosis: a prospective cohort study
Josef Martin Pfeilschifter
- Background: Interleukin-22 (IL-22), recently identified as a crucial parameter of pathology in experimental liver damage, may determine survival in clinical end-stage liver disease. Systematic analysis of serum IL-22 in relation to morbidity and mortality of patients with advanced liver cirrhosis has not been performed so far.
Methods: This is a prospective cohort study including 120 liver cirrhosis patients and 40 healthy donors to analyze systemic levels of IL-22 in relation to survival and hepatic complications.
Results: A total of 71% of patients displayed liver cirrhosis-related complications at study inclusion. A total of 23% of the patients died during a mean follow-up of 196 +/- 165 days. Systemic IL-22 was detectable in 74% of patients but only in 10% of healthy donors (P <0.001). Elevated levels of IL-22 were associated with ascites (P = 0.006), hepatorenal syndrome (P <0.0001), and spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (P = 0.001). Patients with elevated IL-22 (>18 pg/ml, n = 57) showed significantly reduced survival compared to patients with regular ([less than or equal to]18 pg/ml) levels of IL-22 (321 days versus 526 days, P = 0.003). Other factors associated with overall survival were high CRP ([greater than or equal to]2.9 mg/dl, P = 0.005, hazard ratio (HR) 0.314, confidence interval (CI) (0.141 to 0.702)), elevated serum creatinine (P = 0.05, HR 0.453, CI (0.203 to 1.012)), presence of liver-related complications (P = 0.028, HR 0.258 CI (0.077 to 0.862)), model of end stage liver disease (MELD) score [greater than or equal to]20 (P = 0.017, HR 0.364, CI (0.159 to 0.835)) and age (P = 0.011, HR 1.047, CI (1.011 to 1.085)). Adjusted multivariate Cox proportional-hazards analysis identified elevated systemic IL-22 levels as independent predictors of reduced survival (P = 0.007, HR 0.218, CI (0.072 to 0.662)).
Conclusions: In patients with liver cirrhosis, elevated systemic IL-22 levels are predictive for reduced survival independently from age, liver-related complications, CRP, creatinine and the MELD score. Thus, processes that lead to a rise in systemic interleukin-22 may be relevant for prognosis of advanced liver cirrhosis.
Serum microRNA-122 predicts survival in patients with liver cirrhosis
- BACKGROUND: Liver cirrhosis is associated with high morbidity and mortality. MicroRNAs (miRs) circulating in the blood are an emerging new class of biomarkers. In particular, the serum level of the liver-specific miR-122 might be a clinically useful new parameter in patients with acute or chronic liver disease.
AIM: Here we investigated if the serum level of miR-122 might be a prognostic parameter in patients with liver cirrhosis.
METHODS: 107 patients with liver cirrhosis in the test cohort and 143 patients in the validation cohort were prospectively enrolled into the present study. RNA was extracted from the sera obtained at the time of study enrollment and the level of miR-122 was assessed. Serum miR-122 levels were assessed by quantitative reverse-transcription PCR (RT-PCR) and were compared to overall survival time and to different complications of liver cirrhosis.
RESULTS: Serum miR-122 levels were reduced in patients with hepatic decompensation in comparison to patients with compensated liver disease. Patients with ascites, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis and hepatorenal syndrome had significantly lower miR-122 levels than patients without these complications. Multivariate Cox regression analysis revealed that the miR-122 serum levels were associated with survival independently from the MELD score, sex and age.
CONCLUSIONS: Serum miR-122 is a new independent marker for prediction of survival of patients with liver cirrhosis.
Acoustic radiation force impulse imaging for differentiation of thyroid nodules
- Background: Acoustic Radiation Force Impulse (ARFI)-Imaging is an ultrasound-based elastography method enabling
quantitative measurement of tissue stiffness. The aim of the present study was to evaluate sensitivity and specificity of ARFIimaging
for differentiation of thyroid nodules and to compare it to the well evaluated qualitative real-time elastography
Methods: ARFI-imaging involves the mechanical excitation of tissue using acoustic pulses to generate localized
displacements resulting in shear-wave propagation which is tracked using correlation-based methods and recorded in m/s.
Inclusion criteria were: nodules $5 mm, and cytological/histological assessment. All patients received conventional
ultrasound, real-time elastography (RTE) and ARFI-imaging.
Results: One-hundred-fifty-eight nodules in 138 patients were available for analysis. One-hundred-thirty-seven nodules
were benign on cytology/histology, and twenty-one nodules were malignant. The median velocity of ARFI-imaging in the
healthy thyroid tissue, as well as in benign and malignant thyroid nodules was 1.76 m/s, 1.90 m/s, and 2.69 m/s,
respectively. While no significant difference in median velocity was found between healthy thyroid tissue and benign
thyroid nodules, a significant difference was found between malignant thyroid nodules on the one hand and healthy
thyroid tissue (p = 0.0019) or benign thyroid nodules (p = 0.0039) on the other hand. No significant difference of diagnostic
accuracy for the diagnosis of malignant thyroid nodules was found between RTE and ARFI-imaging (0.74 vs. 0.69, p = 0.54).
The combination of RTE with ARFI did not improve diagnostic accuracy.
Conclusions: ARFI can be used as an additional tool in the diagnostic work up of thyroid nodules with high negative
predictive value and comparable results to RTE.
Hepatitis C viral evolution in genotype 1 treatment-naïve and treatment-experienced patients receiving telaprevir-based therapy in clinical trials
Tara L. Kieffer
Sandra De Meyer
Doug J. Bartels
James C. Sullivan
Eileen Z. Zhang
Robert S. Kauffman
Ira M. Jacobson
Kenneth E. Sherman
Ann D. Kwong
- Background: In patients with genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C infection, telaprevir (TVR) in combination with peginterferon and ribavirin (PR) significantly increased sustained virologic response (SVR) rates compared with PR alone. However, genotypic changes could be observed in TVR-treated patients who did not achieve an SVR.
Methods: Population sequence analysis of the NS3•4A region was performed in patients who did not achieve SVR with TVR-based treatment.
Results: Resistant variants were observed after treatment with a telaprevir-based regimen in 12% of treatment-naïve patients (ADVANCE; T12PR arm), 6% of prior relapsers, 24% of prior partial responders, and 51% of prior null responder patients (REALIZE, T12PR48 arms). NS3 protease variants V36M, R155K, and V36M+R155K emerged frequently in patients with genotype 1a and V36A, T54A, and A156S/T in patients with genotype 1b. Lower-level resistance to telaprevir was conferred by V36A/M, T54A/S, R155K/T, and A156S variants; and higher-level resistance to telaprevir was conferred by A156T and V36M+R155K variants. Virologic failure during telaprevir treatment was more common in patients with genotype 1a and in prior PR nonresponder patients and was associated with higher-level telaprevir-resistant variants. Relapse was usually associated with wild-type or lower-level resistant variants. After treatment, viral populations were wild-type with a median time of 10 months for genotype 1a and 3 weeks for genotype 1b patients.
Conclusions: A consistent, subtype-dependent resistance profile was observed in patients who did not achieve an SVR with telaprevir-based treatment. The primary role of TVR is to inhibit wild-type virus and variants with lower-levels of resistance to telaprevir. The complementary role of PR is to clear any remaining telaprevir-resistant variants, especially higher-level telaprevir-resistant variants. Resistant variants are detectable in most patients who fail to achieve SVR, but their levels decline over time after treatment.
A Genetic Validation Study Reveals a Role of Vitamin D Metabolism in the Response to Interferon-Alfa-Based Therapy of Chronic Hepatitis C
Christian M. Lange
Tilman J. Gerlach
Markus H. Heim
- Background: To perform a comprehensive study on the relationship between vitamin D metabolism and the response to interferon-α-based therapy of chronic hepatitis C.
Methodology/Principal Findings: Associations between a functionally relevant polymorphism in the gene encoding the vitamin D 1α-hydroxylase (CYP27B1-1260 rs10877012) and the response to treatment with pegylated interferon-α (PEG-IFN-α) and ribavirin were determined in 701 patients with chronic hepatitis C. In addition, associations between serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25[OH]D3) and treatment outcome were analysed. CYP27B1-1260 rs10877012 was found to be an independent predictor of sustained virologic response (SVR) in patients with poor-response IL28B genotypes (15% difference in SVR for rs10877012 genotype AA vs. CC, p = 0.02, OR = 1.52, 95% CI = 1.061–2.188), but not in patients with favourable IL28B genotype. Patients with chronic hepatitis C showed a high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency (25[OH]D3<20 ng/mL) during all seasons, but 25(OH)D3 serum levels were not associated with treatment outcome.
Conclusions/Significance: Our study suggests a role of bioactive vitamin D (1,25[OH]2D3, calcitriol) in the response to treatment of chronic hepatitis C. However, serum concentration of the calcitriol precursor 25(OH)D3 is not a suitable predictor of treatment outcome.
High prevalence of anti-HCV antibodies in two metropolitan emergency departments in Germany: a prospective screening analysis of 28,809 patients
- Background and Aims: The prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibodies in Germany has been estimated to be in the range of 0.4–0.63%. Screening for HCV is recommended in patients with elevated ALT levels or significant risk factors for HCV transmission only. However, 15–30% of patients report no risk factors and ALT levels can be normal in up to 20–30% of patients with chronic HCV infection. The aim of this study was to assess the HCV seroprevalence in patients visiting two tertiary care emergency departments in Berlin and Frankfurt, respectively.
Methods: Between May 2008 and March 2010, a total of 28,809 consecutive patients were screened for the presence of anti-HCV antibodies. Anti-HCV positive sera were subsequently tested for HCV-RNA.
Results: The overall HCV seroprevalence was 2.6% (95% CI: 2.4–2.8; 2.4% in Berlin and 3.5% in Frankfurt). HCV-RNA was detectable in 68% of anti-HCV positive cases. Thus, the prevalence of chronic HCV infection in the overall study population was 1.6% (95% CI 1.5–1.8). The most commonly reported risk factor was former/current injection drug use (IDU; 31.2%) and those with IDU as the main risk factor were significantly younger than patients without IDU (p<0.001) and the male-to-female ratio was 72% (121 vs. 46 patients; p<0.001). Finally, 18.8% of contacted HCV-RNA positive patients had not been diagnosed previously.
Conclusions: The HCV seroprevalence was more than four times higher compared to current estimates and almost one fifth of contacted HCV-RNA positive patients had not been diagnosed previously.
Soluble serum CD81 is elevated in patients with chronic hepatitis C and correlates with alanine aminotransferase serum activity
- Aim: Cellular CD81 is a well characterized hepatitis C virus (HCV) entry factor, while the relevance of soluble exosomal CD81 in HCV pathogenesis is poorly defined. We performed a case-control study to investigate whether soluble CD81 in the exosomal serum fraction is associated with HCV replication and inflammatory activity.
Patients and Methods: Four cohorts were investigated, patients with chronic hepatitis C (n = 37), patients with chronic HCV infection and persistently normal ALT levels (n = 24), patients with long term sustained virologic response (SVR, n = 7), and healthy volunteers (n = 23). Concentration of soluble CD81 was assessed semi-quantitatively after differential centrifugation ranging from 200 g to 100,000 g in the fifth centrifugation fraction by immunoblotting and densitometry.
Results: Soluble CD81 was increased in patients with chronic hepatitis C compared to healthy subjects (p = 0.03) and cured patients (p = 0.017). Patients with chronic HCV infection and persistently normal ALT levels and patients with long term SVR had similar soluble CD81 levels as healthy controls (p>0.2). Overall, soluble CD81 levels were associated with ALT levels (r = 0.334, p = 0.016) and severe liver fibrosis (p = 0.027).
Conclusion: CD81 is increased in the exosomal serum fraction in patients with chronic hepatitis C and appears to be associated with inflammatory activity and severity of fibrosis.
Assessment of liver fibrosis and associated risk factors in HIV-infected individuals using transient elastography and serum biomarkers
- Background: Liver fibrosis in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals is mostly attributable to co-infection with hepatitis B or C. The impact of other risk factors, including prolonged exposure to combined antiretroviral therapy (cART) is poorly understood. Our aim was to determine the prevalence of liver fibrosis and associated risk factors in HIV-infected individuals based on non-invasive fibrosis assessment using transient elastography (TE) and serum biomarkers (Fibrotest [FT]).
Methods: In 202 consecutive HIV-infected individuals (159 men; mean age 47 ± 9 years; 35 with hepatitis-C-virus [HCV] co-infection), TE and FT were performed. Repeat TE examinations were conducted 1 and 2 years after study inclusion.
Results: Significant liver fibrosis was present in 16% and 29% of patients, respectively, when assessed by TE (≥ 7.1 kPa) and FT (> 0.48). A combination of TE and FT predicted significant fibrosis in 8% of all patients (31% in HIV/HCV co-infected and 3% in HIV mono-infected individuals). Chronic ALT, AST and γ-GT elevation was present in 29%, 20% and 51% of all cART-exposed patients and in 19%, 8% and 45.5% of HIV mono-infected individuals. Overall, factors independently associated with significant fibrosis as assessed by TE (OR, 95% CI) were co-infection with HCV (7.29, 1.95-27.34), chronic AST (6.58, 1.30-33.25) and γ-GT (5.17, 1.56-17.08) elevation and time on dideoxynucleoside therapy (1.01, 1.00-1.02). In 68 HIV mono-infected individuals who had repeat TE examinations, TE values did not differ significantly during a median follow-up time of 24 months (median intra-patient changes at last TE examination relative to baseline: -0.2 kPa, p = 0.20).
Conclusions: Chronic elevation of liver enzymes was observed in up to 45.5% of HIV mono-infected patients on cART. However, only a small subset had significant fibrosis as predicted by TE and FT. There was no evidence for fibrosis progression during follow-up TE examinations.