Objectives: To analyze whether human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-E allelic variants are associated with and may predict response to peg-interferon (IFN) alpha and ribavirin treatment in HIV/hepatitis C virus (HCV)-coinfected patients.
Design: Retrospective follow-up study.
Methods: We studied 321 naive patients who started HCV treatment. HLA-E genotyping was performed by restriction fragment length polymorphism. A sustained virological response (SVR) was defined as undetectable plasma HCV-RNA up through 24 weeks after the end of HCV treatment.
Results: The HLA-E*0101 allele increased the odds of achieving SVR for all patients [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 2.03 (95% confidence interval, 95% CI = 1.35–3.06); P = 0.001], for HCV genotype (GT) 1/4 patients (aOR = 1.62 (95% CI = 1.03–2.54), P = 0.035), and for GT2/3 patients [aOR = 9.87 (95% CI = 2.47–31.89), P = 0.001]. For decision tree analysis, the SVR rate increased from 0 to 82.6% and then to 92.5% in GT2/3 patients when the count of HLA-E*0101 alleles increased. In GT1/4 patients with rs8099917 TT genotype, the SVR rate increased from 33.3 to 54.8% and then to 61.8% when the count of HLA-E*0101 alleles increased. In GT1/4 patients with rs8099917 GT/GG genotype, the SVR rate increased from 15.4 to 22% and then to 44% when the count of HLA-E*0101 alleles increased. The overall percentage of patients correctly classified was 73.2% and the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) was 0.803 ± 0.024.
Conclusion: The HLA-E*0101 allele was associated with increased odds of HCV clearance and could help to predict SVR among HIV/HCV-coinfected patients on HCV therapy. This would be helpful to avoid treatment in those less likely to respond to pegylated-interferon-alpha and ribavirin treatment.