To evaluate the predictive value of complete early virological response (cEVR) on sustained virological response (SVR) following retreatment with peginterferon alpha-2a (40 kDa) plus ribavirin in previous nonresponders to peginterferon alpha-2b (12 kDa).
In the randomized multinational retreatment with Pegasys in patients not responding to PegIntron therapy study, a 72-week regimen of peginterferon alpha-2a (40 kDa) plus ribavirin improved SVR rates over a standard 48-week regimen in previous nonresponders to peginterferon alpha-2b (12 kDa). cEVR, defined as hepatitis C virus RNA <50 IU/mL at treatment week 12, was an important predictor of SVR.
We conducted an exploratory analysis of the retreatment with Pegasys in patients not responding to PegIntron therapy study data to better define the predictive value of cEVR for SVR in this patient population.
In total, 157 of the 942 patients achieved a cEVR (16.7%). SVR rates were higher with 72 versus 48 weeks of retreatment in patients with a cEVR (57% vs. 35%), whereas SVR rates were <5% in patients without cEVR in both groups. The relative adverse event (AE) burden was lower with 72 weeks of treatment (8.1 vs. 10.1 AEs/y of treatment) as was the estimated number of AEs per SVR achieved (55 vs. 100). Cumulative treatment duration required to achieve 1 SVR was lower with 72 weeks of treatment (6.7 vs. 10.0 y/SVR) and lower still assuming that treatment was stopped at week 12 for non-cEVR patients (3.6 vs. 7.1 y/SVR).
cEVR is a reliable predictor of SVR in patients retreated with peginterferon alpha-2a (40 kDa) plus ribavirin. Seventy-two-week retreatment has a more favorable benefit-risk ratio than 48 weeks, especially when cEVR is used to identify patients most likely to be cured.