Can Low-Dose Interferon Prevent Relapse of Hepatitis C Virus Infection?

Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection can lead to serious diseases such as cirrhosis and cancer of the liver, so viral clearance and prevention of relapse are important treatment goals. Low-dose oral interferon may reduce the risk of HCV relapse in patients with mild liver fibrosis according to a study published in the Journal of Interferon & Cytokine Research.

In "A Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Study to Evaluate the Efficacy of Low-Dose Oral Interferon-Alpha in Preventing Hepatitis C Relapse," Chuan-Mo Lee and coauthors from several universities and hospitals in Taiwan present the results of a clinical trial comparing the effects of 24 weeks of treatment with two doses of oral interferon-alpha or placebo in patients who achieved viral clearance after successful HCV therapy.

"This is a highly significant study relevant to the optimal use of IFN for HCV treatment," says co-editor-in-chief Ganes C. Sen, PhD, chairman of the Department of Molecular Genetics at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio.

Source: International Cytokine and Interferon Society, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.