Regimens containing sofosbuvir and velpatasvir were most effective for treating both cirrhotic and noncirrhotic genotype 3 hepatitis C virus infection (HCV GT3), according to a meta-analysis reported in the March issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology (doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2016.10.03 ).

“Our analyses indicated that ribavirin significantly increases SVR [sustained viral response] rates and should be considered, if tolerated,” added Floor A.C. Berden, MD, of Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and her associates.

Direct-acting antiviral regimens successfully treat chronic HCV infection, but tend to perform suboptimally in HCV GT3, especially when patients are treatment experienced and have cirrhosis. Options for HCV GT3 infection include sofosbuvir combined with ribavirin, daclatasvir, or velpatasvir. But head-to-head trials of these regimens are lacking, and are unlikely to occur, in part because the Food and Drug Administration permits single-arm trials with historical controls as the comparator, the investigators said. Therefore, they searched PubMed, Embase, and the Web of Science database through March 15, 2016, for randomized trials and real-world studies of at least one direct-acting antiviral agent in adults with chronic HCV GT3 infection. They also manually searched abstracts presented at the 2015 conferences of the European Association for the Study of the Liver and the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. This work yielded 27 studies: 16 randomized controlled trials, 6 single-arm studies, and 5 observational cohort studies. The researchers used a Bayesian analysis based on Markov chain Monte Carlo methods.

For patients without cirrhosis, sofosbuvir and velpatasvir with ribavirin yielded the highest estimated likelihood of SVR (99%; 95% confidence interval, 98%-100%), followed by sofosbuvir and velpatasvir without ribavirin (97%; 95% CI, 95%-99%), sofosbuvir and daclatasvir with ribavirin (96%; 95% CI, 92%-98%), and sofosbuvir and peginterferon with ribavirin (95%; 95% CI, 91%-98%), all for 12 weeks, the investigators reported.

For patients with cirrhosis, the most effective regimen was sofosbuvir with velpatasvir for 24 weeks (estimated SVR, 96%; 95% CI, 92%-99%), followed by sofosbuvir and daclatasvir with ribavirin for 24 weeks (94%; 95% CI, 87%-98%), sofosbuvir and velpatasvir and ribavirin for 12 weeks (94%; 95% CI, 86%-98%). The estimated efficacy of sofosbuvir and velpatasvir held up in sensitivity analyses that honed in on studies with a low risk of bias, approved regimens, or those under regulatory evaluation, patients without decompensated cirrhosis, and patients without HIV coinfection.

Adding ribavirin to a direct-acting antiviral regimen improved the odds of SVR about 2.6-fold (95% CI, 1.3-4.7) among noncirrhotic patients and by about 4.5 times in cirrhotic patients (95% CI, 2.5-7.7), the investigators reported. “In clinical practice, choice of treatment may depend on several factors, such as availability and price of direct-acting antivirals, tolerance of ribavirin, risk of adverse events or drug-drug interactions, and the presence of resistance-associated substitutions,” they added. Nonetheless, these findings can help prioritize therapies for HCV GT3 infection in both clinical guidelines and practice, they emphasized.

Dr. Berden and four coinvestigators had no relevant financial disclosures. Senior author Joost Drenth, MD, PhD, disclosed serving on advisory boards and receiving research grants from several pharmaceutical companies.


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