November 20, 2010

The IL-28 Genotype: How It Will Affect the Care of Patients with Hepatitis C Virus Infection

Current Gastroenterology Reports
DOI: 10.1007/s11894-010-0161-9

Brian L. Pearlman


The hypothesis that host genetics play an essential role in the ability not only to clear acute hepatitis C infection but also to achieve sustained virologic response (SVR) to interferon (IFN)-based therapy has been proved with the recent discovery of two single-nucleotide polymorphisms on chromosome 19. Variants in the minor allele rs8099917 and the proximate polymorphism rs12979860, 3 kb upstream of the interleukin (IL)-28B gene, which encodes the endogenous antiviral cytokine IFN-λ, are associated with SVR and with natural viral clearance. The disparate frequencies of these alleles in ethnic groups worldwide may well explain differing rates of SVR among them. The test for one of these polymorphisms is now commercially available and can serve as a powerful predictor of a patient’s chance of achieving SVR. Perhaps more importantly, the test can help the clinician personally tailor the duration and even the type of therapy that is most appropriate for an individual patient, newly or chronically infected with the hepatitis C virus.

Keywords Hepatitis C - Acute hepatitis C - Chronic hepatitis C - Viral hepatitis - IL-28 polymorphisms - Genome-wide association studies - Single-nucleotide polymorphisms


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