Oncotarget 2016 8 17() doi 10.18632/oncotarget.11348
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) can replicate in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), which can produce interferon to defend against virus infection. We hypothesized that dynamic gene expression in PBMCs might impact the treatment efficacy of peginterferon/ribavirin in HCV patients. PBMCs were collected at baseline, 1st week and 4th week of treatment from 27 chronic HCV-1 patients with 48-week peginterferon/ribavirin therapy (screening dataset n = 7; validation dataset n = 20). A sustained virologic response (SVR) was defined as undetectable HCV RNA throughout the 24 weeks after end-of-treatment. A complete early virologic response (cEVR) was defined as negative HCV RNA at treatment week 12. Forty-three differentially expressed genes identified by Affymetrix microarray were validated by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Thirteen genes at week 1 and 24 genes at week 4 were upregulated in the SVR group compared with the non-SVR group. We selected 8 target genes (RSAD2, LOC26010, HERC5, HERC6, IFI44, SERPING1, IFITM3, and DDX60) at week 1 as the major components of the predictive model. This predictive model reliably stratified the responders and non-responders at week 1 (AUC = 0.89, p = 0.007 for SVR; AUC = 0.95, p = 0.003 for cEVR), especially among patients carrying the IL28B rs8099917 TT genotype (AUC = 0.89, p = 0.02 for SVR; AUC = 1.0, p = 0.008 for cEVR). The performance of this predictive model was superior to traditional predictors, including the rapid virologic response, viral load and IL28B genotype.