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Role of Interleukin 28B-related Gene Polymorphisms in Chronic Hepatitis C and the Response to Antiviral Therapy in Koreans

Jung, Young Kul MD, PhD*; Kim, Ji Hoon MD, PhD; Ahn, Sung-Min MD, PhD; Yang, Jae Won BSc§; Park, Sang Jin MSc, PhD§; Kim, Jong Woo PhD§; Yeon, Jong Eun MD, PhD; Kwon, Oh Sang MD, PhD*; Kim, Yun Soo MD, PhD*; Choi, Duck Joo MD, PhD*; Kim, Ju Hyun MD, PhD*; Byun, Kwan Soo MD, PhD

Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology: August 2013 - Volume 47 - Issue 7 - p 644–650
doi: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e3182896abf

Background: Genetic variations in interleukin 28B (IL28B) have been strongly associated with a sustained virological response (SVR) in European and African-American patients. Genetic variation of IL28B was investigated in healthy controls and chronic hepatitis C (CHC) patients, and the treatment response in the CHC patients was analyzed according to IL28B polymorphism in the Korean population.

Methods: IL28B polymorphisms (rs12979860 and rs8099917) were studied in 200 healthy controls and in 167 CHC patients who were treated with peginterferon-α and ribavirin.

Results: The prevalence of rs12979860 in healthy controls is as follows: the CC-genotype was 88.5%, the CT-genotype was 11.5%, and the TT-genotype was not found. The prevalence of rs8099917 in healthy controls is as follows: the TT-genotype was 89.5%, the TG-genotype was 10.5%, and the GG-genotype was not found. The CC-genotype of rs12979860 and the TT-genotype of rs8099917 were found to be closely related (linkage disequilibrium; D′=1.0, χ 2=0.9082). In 106 CHC patients treated with peginterferon and ribavirin, the SVR was 67.2% (n=58) for 1b, 91.6% (n=47) for 2a. In hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1b with respect to rs12979860, the SVR in CC-genotype was 72.9% and that in CT-genotype was 40.0%. On investigating predictive factors for SVR, pretreatment low-HCV RNA levels, HCV genotype non-1, early virological response, and also the IL28B CC-genotype for rs12979860 were good indicators of an SVR.

Conclusions: In Korea, genetic variation of IL28B is different from that in western countries in view of high prevalence of rs12979860 CC-genotype. It seems likely that a high SVR in Korean patients with genotype 1 CHC patients is due to the genetic polymorphism in IL28B.

*Department of Internal Medicine, Gachon University of Medicine and Science Gil Medical Center, Namdong-gu

Department of Molecular Medicine, Lee Gil Ya Cancer and Diabetes Institute, Gachon University of Medicine and Science, Incheon

Department of Internal Medicine, Korea University Medical College Guro Hospital, Seoul

§Laboratory of Infectious Disease, B&C Biopharm Co. Ltd., Suwon, Korea

K.S.B. and J.W.K. contributed equally to this study.

Supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (Grant No. 2011-0014391).

The authors declare that they have nothing to disclose.

Reprints: Kwan Soo Byun, MD, PhD, Department of Internal Medicine, Korea University Medical College, Korea University Hospital, Guro-Gu Guro-Dong Gil 97, Seoul, Korea 152-703 (e-mail:

Received February 15, 2012

Accepted January 22, 2013

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins