Publications by authors named "Tarik Asselah"

192 Publications

Editorial: HBV cure-the quest for biomarkers to predict off-treatment sustained response.

Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2021 02;53(4):552-554

Department of Hepatology, CRI, INSERM, UMR 1149, AP-HP Hôpital Beaujon, Université de Paris, Clichy, France.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/apt.16214DOI Listing
February 2021

HCV eradication in primary or secondary prevention optimizes hepatocellular carcinoma curative management.

Cancer Prev Res (Phila) 2021 Feb 19. Epub 2021 Feb 19.

Public Health, APHP.

To assess the impact of HCV eradication on the outcomes of cirrhotic patients treated curatively for incidental hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) detected during surveillance program. Data were collected on 1323 French patients with compensated biopsy-proven HCV cirrhosis recruited in 35 centers (ANRS CO12 CirVir cohort). Sustained virological responses (SVR) and the occurrence of HCC were recorded prospectively. During a median follow-up (FU) of 68.3 months, 218 patients developed HCC, 126 of whom underwent a curative procedure as first-line therapy (ablation=95, resection=31). The HCC BCLC stage was 0/A in 97.5% of patients; 74 (58.7%) never achieved SVR. During a median FU of 26.0 months after HCC treatment, 59 (46.8%) experienced HCC recurrence. SVR was not associated with a recurrence, whether considering final SVR status (HR=0.77 [0.43; 1.39]; P=0.39) or its time to achievement (prior to/after HCC occurrence; global P=0.28). During the same timeframe, 46 HCC patients (36.5%) died (liver failure: 41.9%, HCC progression: 37.2%, extrahepatic causes: 20.9%). Under multivariate analysis, SVR was associated with improved survival (HR=0.21 [0.08; 0.52]; P=0.001). Survival benefit was explained by a lower incidence of liver decompensation and higher rates of sequential HCC re-treatment. Direct antivirals intake was not associated with a higher risk of HCC recurrence but with improved survival (HR=0.23 [0.06; 0.83]; P=0.024). HCV eradication in primary or secondary prevention optimizes HCC management through preservation of liver function and improves survival, whatever the regimen.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-20-0465DOI Listing
February 2021

miRNAs as Potential Biomarkers for Viral Hepatitis B and C.

Viruses 2020 12 14;12(12). Epub 2020 Dec 14.

Department of Hepatology, Université de Paris, CRI, INSERM UMR 1149, AP-HP Hôpital Beaujon, 92110 Clichy, France.

Around 257 million people are living with hepatitis B virus (HBV) chronic infection and 71 million with hepatitis C virus (HCV) chronic infection. Both HBV and HCV infections can lead to liver complications such as cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). To take care of these chronically infected patients, one strategy is to diagnose the early stage of fibrosis in order to treat them as soon as possible to decrease the risk of HCC development. microRNAs (or miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs which regulate many cellular processes in metazoans. Their expressions were frequently modulated by up- or down-regulation during fibrosis progression. In the serum of patients with HBV chronic infection (CHB), miR-122 and miR-185 expressions are increased, while miR-29, -143, -21 and miR-223 expressions are decreased during fibrosis progression. In the serum of patients with HCV chronic infection (CHC), miR-143 and miR-223 expressions are increased, while miR-122 expression is decreased during fibrosis progression. This review aims to summarize current knowledge of principal miRNAs modulation involved in fibrosis progression during chronic hepatitis B/C infections. Furthermore, we also discuss the potential use of miRNAs as non-invasive biomarkers to diagnose fibrosis with the intention of prioritizing patients with advanced fibrosis for treatment and surveillance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/v12121440DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7765125PMC
December 2020

Perspectives on stopping nucleos(t)ide analogues therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis B.

Antiviral Res 2021 01 3;185:104992. Epub 2020 Dec 3.

Université de Paris, CRI, UMR 1149, Inserm, Paris, F-75018, France; Department of Hepatology, AP-HP Hôpital Beaujon, Clichy, 92110, France. Electronic address:

Long-term treatment with nucleos(t)ide analogs (NAs) is the current first line therapy for patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB), recommended by most of the current guidelines. NAs prevent disease progression, liver failure, decrease the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and have favorable safety profiles. However, low rates of on-therapy functional cure (hepatitis B surface antigen [HBsAg] loss), which is regarded as the optimal end point, prevent many patients from stopping NA therapy with the need for a lifelong treatment. The higher likelihood of HBsAg loss associated with stopping as compared to continuing NAs has got a lot of attention recently. Recommendations regarding endpoints allowing for safely stopping NA therapy differ between international guidelines. Whereas in HBeAg-positive patients, HBeAg seroconversion with at least one year of consolidation therapy is an acceptable endpoint of treatment, the recommendations for HBeAg-negative ones differ. Some guidelines propose ≥3 years of HBV DNA undetectability to stop NA while others regard HBsAg loss as the only acceptable endpoint. Stopping NA can lead to substantial rates of virologic relapses and consequent ALT flares in some cases. Moreover, no reliable predictor(s) of post-NA relapses have been identified so far. Quantitative HBsAg is becoming an increasingly promising marker to predict safe NA cessation. On the other hand, investigating the role of the immune system in mediating sustained virologic responses after NA withdrawal is needed to suggest immunological biomarkers to safely stop NA. In this article, we will review relevant literature regarding NA stopping strategy and discuss promising viral and immunological biomarkers to predict antiviral responses and thus to help identify patients who are more likely to achieve HBsAg seroclearance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.antiviral.2020.104992DOI Listing
January 2021

COVID-19: Discovery, diagnostics and drug development.

J Hepatol 2021 01 8;74(1):168-184. Epub 2020 Oct 8.

Center for AIDS Research, Laboratory of Biochemical Pharmacology, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine, 1760 Haygood Drive, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) started as an epidemic in Wuhan in 2019, and has since become a pandemic. Groups from China identified and sequenced the virus responsible for COVID-19, named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and determined that it was a novel coronavirus sharing high sequence identity with bat- and pangolin-derived SARS-like coronaviruses, suggesting a zoonotic origin. SARS-CoV-2 is a member of the Coronaviridae family of enveloped, positive-sense, single-stranded RNA viruses that infect a broad range of vertebrates. The rapid release of the sequence of the virus has enabled the development of diagnostic tools. Additionally, serological tests can now identify individuals who have been infected. SARS-CoV-2 infection is associated with a fatality rate of around 1-3%, which is commonly linked to the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), likely resulting from uncontrolled immune activation, the so called "cytokine storm". Risk factors for mortality include advanced age, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. Drug repurposing has been used to rapidly identify potential treatments for COVID-19, which could move quickly to phase III. Better knowledge of the virus and its enzymes will aid the development of more potent and specific direct-acting antivirals. In the long term, a vaccine to prevent infection is crucial; however, even if successful, it might not be available before 2021-22. To date, except for intravenous remdesivir and dexamethasone, which have modest effects in moderate to severe COVID-19, no strong clinical evidence supports the efficacy of any other drugs against SARS-CoV-2. The aim of this review is to provide insights on the discovery of SARS-CoV-2, its virology, diagnostic tools, and the ongoing drug discovery effort.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2020.09.031DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7543767PMC
January 2021

Personalized surveillance for hepatocellular carcinoma in cirrhosis - using machine learning adapted to HCV status.

J Hepatol 2020 Dec 29;73(6):1434-1445. Epub 2020 Jun 29.

AP-HP, Hôpital Jean Verdier, Service d'Hépatologie, Bondy; Université Paris 13, Sorbonne Paris Cité, "Equipe labellisée Ligue Contre le Cancer", F-93206 Saint-Denis; Inserm, UMR-1162, "Génomique fonctionnelle des tumeur solides", F-75000, Paris, France. Electronic address:

Background & Aims: Refining hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) surveillance programs requires improved individual risk prediction. Thus, we aimed to develop algorithms based on machine learning approaches to predict the risk of HCC more accurately in patients with HCV-related cirrhosis, according to their virological status.

Methods: Patients with compensated biopsy-proven HCV-related cirrhosis from the French ANRS CO12 CirVir cohort were included in a semi-annual HCC surveillance program. Three prognostic models for HCC occurrence were built, using (i) Fine-Gray regression as a benchmark, (ii) single decision tree (DT), and (iii) random survival forest for competing risks survival (RSF). Model performance was evaluated from C-indexes validated externally in the ANRS CO22 Hepather cohort (n = 668 enrolled between 08/2012-01/2014).

Results: Out of 836 patients analyzed, 156 (19%) developed HCC and 434 (52%) achieved sustained virological response (SVR) (median follow-up 63 months). Fine-Gray regression models identified 6 independent predictors of HCC occurrence in patients before SVR (past excessive alcohol intake, genotype 1, elevated AFP and GGT, low platelet count and albuminemia) and 3 in patients after SVR (elevated AST, low platelet count and shorter prothrombin time). DT analysis confirmed these associations but revealed more complex interactions, yielding 8 patient groups with varying cancer risks and predictors depending on SVR achievement. On RSF analysis, the most important predictors of HCC varied by SVR status (non-SVR: platelet count, GGT, AFP and albuminemia; SVR: prothrombin time, ALT, age and platelet count). Externally validated C-indexes before/after SVR were 0.64/0.64 [Fine-Gray], 0.60/62 [DT] and 0.71/0.70 [RSF].

Conclusions: Risk factors for hepatocarcinogenesis differ according to SVR status. Machine learning algorithms can refine HCC risk assessment by revealing complex interactions between cancer predictors. Such approaches could be used to develop more cost-effective tailored surveillance programs.

Lay Summary: Patients with HCV-related cirrhosis must be included in liver cancer surveillance programs, which rely on ultrasound examination every 6 months. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) screening is hampered by sensitivity issues, leading to late cancer diagnoses in a substantial number of patients. Refining surveillance periodicity and modality using more sophisticated imaging techniques such as MRI may only be cost-effective in patients with the highest HCC incidence. Herein, we demonstrate how machine learning algorithms (i.e. data-driven mathematical models to make predictions or decisions), can refine individualized risk prediction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2020.05.052DOI Listing
December 2020

Absence of impact of direct acting antivirals for hepatitis C virus on recurrent hepatocellular carcinoma tumor growth in the AFEF/ANRS CO22 Hepather cohort.

Clin Res Hepatol Gastroenterol 2021 Jan 25;45(1):101459. Epub 2020 Jun 25.

Hepatology Unit, Hôpital Cochin, AP-HP, 27, rue du Fg Saint-Jacques, 75014 Paris, France.

Background: Although it has now been excluded that direct-acting antivirals (DAA) are associated with a significant risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in HCV-infected patients, a possible effect of DAA on tumor growth is still a subject of debate. We performed a blind comparison of the kinetics of HCC recurrence in patients after HCV treatment with or without DAA to evaluate the potential aggressiveness of HCC after DAA treatment.

Basic Procedures: Thirty-nine HCV-infected patients from the AFEF/ANRS CO22 Hepather cohort who experienced HCC recurrence after so-called curative treatment were evaluated. Contrast-enhanced CT and/or MR images were read blindly 6 months before HCC recurrence and during the follow-up period. Seventeen patients who received DAA (DAA+) before HCC recurrence were compared to the 22 who did not receive (DAA-), according to the LiRads and mRECIST criteria.

Main Findings: There were 28 men and 11 women, median age 62 years old, 37 (95%) with cirrhosis. DAA+ patients had a lower median MELD score (8±2 vs. 10±4, P=0.0286) than DAA- patients. The median time to HCC recurrence (time from the date of curative treatment to the diagnosis of recurrence) was not different (20 vs. 18 months) (P=0.73) between the two groups. There was no difference between the 2 groups in the overall survival and/or transplantation-free survival (P=0.71) and for the mRECIST time to progression (P=0.25).

Conclusion: This blinded analysis of HCC recurrence after HCC treatment does not support any negative impact of DAA therapy on the severity or progression of recurrent HCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clinre.2020.04.022DOI Listing
January 2021

Efficacy and safety of elbasvir/grazoprevir for 12 weeks in people with hepatitis C virus infection aged 35 years or younger compared with older people: a retrospective integrated analysis.

Curr Med Res Opin 2020 Aug 24;36(8):1325-1332. Epub 2020 Jun 24.

Department of Infectious Disease, Merck & Co. Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA.

In the United States, the number of new cases of hepatitis C virus infection has risen in recent years, driven largely by transmission among young white adults in their 20s and 30s. Herein, we report an integrated analysis of participants with hepatitis C virus infection aged ≤35 years from 12 phase II/III clinical trials of elbasvir/grazoprevir. Treatment-naive and -experienced adults with hepatitis C virus genotype 1 or 4 infection received elbasvir (50 mg/day)/grazoprevir (100 mg/day) for 12 weeks without ribavirin. Analyses were stratified according to participant age (≤35 years vs >35 years). The primary endpoint was sustained virologic response (hepatitis C virus RNA < lower limit of quantitation at 12 weeks after completion of therapy). Sustained virologic response was achieved by 98.9% (271/274) of participants aged ≤35 years and by 96.9% (2093/2160) aged >35 years. Three participants aged ≤35 years with genotype 1b infection relapsed. Eight participants with genotype 1a infection and baseline non-structural protein 5 A resistance-associated substitutions achieved sustained virologic response. Similarly, all 85 participants aged ≤35 years with genotype 1a infection and no baseline non-structural protein 5 A resistance-associated substitutions achieved sustained virologic response. Safety was favorable, with the incidence of drug-related adverse events similar in younger and older participants (30.1% vs 30.6%). One participant (0.4%) aged ≤35 years and 15 participants (0.7%) aged >35 years discontinued treatment owing to adverse events. Elbasvir/grazoprevir for 12 weeks was safe and highly effective in participants aged ≤35 years with hepatitis C virus genotype 1 or 4 infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03007995.2020.1775075DOI Listing
August 2020

Efficacy and safety of glecaprevir/pibrentasvir in patients with HCV genotype 5/6: An integrated analysis of phase 2/3 studies.

Liver Int 2020 10 11;40(10):2385-2393. Epub 2020 Jun 11.

Department of Hepatology, Centre de Recherche sur l'Inflammation, INSERM UMR 1149, Université Paris Diderot, AP-HP Hôpital Beaujon, Clichy, France.

Background & Aims: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has high genetic diversity with six major genotypes (GT) GT1-6 and global distribution. HCV GT5 and 6 are rare with < 10 million people infected worldwide. Data on direct-acting antiviral use in these rare HCV genotypes are limited. The study aimed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of glecaprevir/pibrentasvir (G/P) in a pooled analysis of phase 2/3 trials in HCV GT5 or 6-infected patients without cirrhosis or with compensated cirrhosis.

Methods: Patients with chronic HCV GT5 or 6 infection received oral G/P (300 mg/120 mg) once daily for 8 or 12 weeks. The primary efficacy endpoint was sustained virological response at post-treatment week 12 (SVR12) in the intention-to-treat population.

Results: One hundred eighty-one patients were evaluated; 56 with HCV GT5 and 125 with HCV GT6. The majority were treatment-naïve (88%) and non-cirrhotic (85%). Overall SVR12 rate with 8- or 12-week G/P treatment was 98% (178/181). Eight-week treatment with G/P yielded SVR12 rates of 95% (21/22) in HCV GT5- and 99% (69/70) in HCV GT6-infected non-cirrhotic patients. Eight- and 12-week treatment of patients with compensated cirrhosis achieved SVR12 rates of 100% (10/10) and 94% (17/18) respectively. The G/P regimen was well-tolerated; 3% (6/181) Grade 3 or higher adverse events, and no serious adverse events were attributed to G/P or led to study drug discontinuation.

Conclusions: This integrated dataset demonstrates a high SVR12 rate following 8-week G/P treatment in patients with HCV GT5 (96%) or GT6 (99%) infection without cirrhosis or with compensated cirrhosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/liv.14535DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7539968PMC
October 2020

Phase 3, Multicenter Open-Label study to investigate the efficacy of elbasvir and grazoprevir fixed-dose combination for 8 weeks in treatment-naïve, HCV GT1b-infected patients, with non-severe fibrosis.

Liver Int 2020 08 1;40(8):1853-1859. Epub 2020 Jun 1.

Service de médecine digestive et hépato-biliaire CHU Estaing, Clermont-Ferrand, France.

Background: Genotype 1b is the most common HCV genotype worldwide, accounting for the largest proportion of infections in Europe, Russia, Latin America and Asia. Reducing treatment duration can improve adherence, reduce drug exposure and cost. Accordingly, we evaluated the efficacy of 8 weeks fixed-dose combination of grazoprevir-elbasvir in treatment-naïve patients, with non-severe fibrosis.

Methods: HCV mono-infected and treatment naïve patients with non-severe fibrosis (Fibroscan <9.5 kPa and Fibrotest  < 0.59) were enrolled in a study which included 117 patients. Genotyping by sequencing identified five patients with non-1b genotype (two GT1a, one GT1h, one GT1e and one GT1l). Thus, we included in the final analysis 112 GT1b patients. The primary end point was the proportion of patients with HCVRNA below the lower limit of quantification 12 weeks after treatment (SVR12).

Findings: Mean age was 54 ± 13 years, 31% were men and viral load was higher than 800.000 IU/mL in 70 of 112 patients (63%). Using Fibroscan , 100 had F0-1 fibrosis score. FIB-4 lower than 1.45 and APRI less than 1 was found in 74/112 (66%) and 107/112 (95%) patients respectively. Relapse occurred in three patients by week 12. These three patients had a viral load higher than 6 million IU/mL and NS5A Y93H RAS (resistance-associated substitution). Then, modified intention-to-treat SVR12 for patients with genotype 1b was 109/112 (97%). By week 24; five relapses were observed and all had the Y93H RAS at relapse. SVR12 was achieved in 100% of patients with a baseline viral load below 6 million and decreased to 98% (98/100) by follow-up week 24.

Interpretation: Naïve patients with genotype 1b and non-severe fibrosis can achieve an SVR12 of 97% and an SVR24 of 95%. Then, these patients can be treated with grazoprevir-elbasvir for 8 weeks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/liv.14502DOI Listing
August 2020

Hepatitis B surface antigen seroclearance: Immune mechanisms, clinical impact, importance for drug development.

J Hepatol 2020 Aug 22;73(2):409-422. Epub 2020 Apr 22.

University Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, CRI, UMR 1149, Inserm, F-75018 Paris, France; Department of Hepatology, AP-HP Hôpital Beaujon, Clichy 92110, France. Electronic address:

HBsAg seroclearance occurs rarely in the natural history of chronic hepatitis B (CHB) infection and is associated with improved clinical outcomes. Many factors are associated with HBsAg seroconversion, including immune and viral factors. However, the immune mechanisms associated with HBsAg seroclearance are still difficult to elucidate. HBsAg seroclearance is the ideal aim of HBV treatment. Unfortunately, this goal is rarely achieved with current treatments. Understanding the mechanisms of HBsAg loss appears to be important for the development of curative HBV treatments. While studies from animal models give insights into the potential immune mechanisms and interactions occurring between the immune system and HBsAg, they do not recapitulate all features of CHB in humans and are subject to variability due to their complexity. In this article, we review recent studies on these immune factors, focusing on their influence on CHB progression and HBsAg seroconversion. These data provide new insights for the development of therapeutic approaches to partially restore the anti-HBV immune response. Targeting HBsAg will ideally relieve the immunosuppressive effects on the immune system and help to restore anti-HBV immune responses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2020.04.013DOI Listing
August 2020

Nucleic Acid Polymers are Effective in Targeting Hepatitis B Surface Antigen, but More Trials Are Needed.

Gastroenterology 2020 06 18;158(8):2051-2054. Epub 2020 Apr 18.

Paris University, INSERM UMR 1149, Department of Hepatology, AP-HP Hôpital Beaujon, Clichy, France.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2020.04.020DOI Listing
June 2020

Evolution of Hepatitis C Virus Treatment During the Era of Sofosbuvir-Based Therapies: A Real-World Experience in France.

Dig Dis Sci 2021 Mar 18;66(3):881-898. Epub 2020 Apr 18.

Département D'Hépatologie, Inserm U1223, Hôpital Cochin AP-HP, 27, rue du Faubourg Saint Jacques, 75014, Paris, France.

Background: Treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) has been dramatically improved with the introduction of direct-acting antiviral agents (DAAs). Universal access to pangenotypic DAAs was provided in France from 2017, expanding the type of patients treated. Real-world studies are important to confirm effectiveness and safety in clinical practice, particularly in vulnerable populations.

Aims: To assess real-world effectiveness and safety of sofosbuvir-based therapy in adults with chronic HCV infection before and after universal access to DAAs in France.

Methods: This multicenter, non-interventional, prospective study assessed the effectiveness, safety, patient-reported outcomes and adherence with sofosbuvir-based regimens from October 2015 to July 2016 (Period 1: sofosbuvir-based therapy excluding sofosbuvir/velpatasvir) and from October 2017 to July 2018 (Period 2: pangenotypic sofosbuvir/velpatasvir-based therapy).

Results: Baseline data were documented for 1029 patients. Overall, 797 (77%) had sustained virologic response data available ≥ 9 weeks after treatment completion. Per protocol response was high (97%) irrespective of age, alcohol consumption, recreational drug use, or HIV/HCV coinfection. Adverse events occurred in approximately 25% of patients with the majority experiencing Grade 1 or 2 events. Sofosbuvir-based regimens improved health-related quality of life from baseline to end of treatment in patients with data at all timepoints. Overall, 99% of patients reported total or almost total adherence to therapy.

Conclusions: Sofosbuvir-based therapy, including pangenotypic sofosbuvir/velpatasvir, is effective for the treatment of HCV in real-world clinical practice. This is an important step towards HCV elimination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10620-020-06234-1DOI Listing
March 2021

Final analysis of the international observational S-Collate study of peginterferon alfa-2a in patients with chronic hepatitis B.

PLoS One 2020 10;15(4):e0230893. Epub 2020 Apr 10.

Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endocrinology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.

Background And Aims: Sustained off-treatment immune control is achievable in a proportion of patients with chronic hepatitis B treated with peginterferon alfa-2a. We evaluated on-treatment predictors of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) clearance 3 years after peginterferon alfa-2a treatment and determined the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma.

Methods: A prospective, international, multicenter, observational study in patients with chronic hepatitis B who have been prescribed peginterferon alfa-2a (40KD) in a real-world setting. The primary endpoint was HBsAg clearance after 3 years' follow-up.

Results: The modified intention-to-treat population comprised 844 hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-positive patients (540 [64%] completed 3 years' follow-up), and 872 HBeAg-negative patients (614 [70%] completed 3 years' follow-up). At 3 years' follow-up, HBsAg clearance rates in HBeAg-positive and HBeAg-negative populations, respectively, were 2% (16/844) and 5% (41/872) in the modified intention-to-treat population and 5% [16/328] and 10% [41/394] in those with available data. In HBeAg-positive patients with data, Week 12 HBsAg levels <1500, 1500-20,000, and >20,000 IU/mL were associated with HBsAg clearance rates at 3 years' follow-up of 11%, 1%, and 5%, respectively (Week 24 predictability was similar). In HBeAg-negative patients with available data, a ≥10% decline vs a <10% decline in HBsAg at Week 12 was associated with HBsAg clearance rates of 16% vs 4%. Hepatocellular carcinoma incidence was lower than REACH-B (Risk Estimation for Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Chronic Hepatitis B) model predictions.

Conclusions: Sustained off-treatment immune control is achieved with peginterferon alfa-2a in a real-world setting. HBsAg clearance 3 years after completion of peginterferon alfa-2a can be predicted on the basis of on-treatment HBsAg kinetics.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0230893PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7147799PMC
July 2020

Future treatments for hepatitis delta virus infection.

Liver Int 2020 02;40 Suppl 1:54-60

CRI, UMR 1149, Inserm, University Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Paris, France.

Around 15-20 million people develop chronic hepatitis delta virus worldwide. Hepatitis delta virus (HDV) is a defective RNA virus requiring the presence of the hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg) to complete its life cycle. HDV infects hepatocytes using the hepatitis B virus (HBV) receptor, the sodium taurocholate cotransporting polypeptide (NTCP). The HDV genome is a circular single-stranded RNA which encodes for a single hepatitis delta antigen (HDAg) that exists in two forms (S-HDAg and L-HDAg), and its replication is mediated by the host RNA polymerases. The HBsAg-coated HDV virions contain a ribonucleoprotein (RNP) formed by the RNA genome packaged with small and large HDAg. Farnesylation of the L-HDAg is the limiting step for anchoring this RNP to HBsAg, and thus for assembling, secreting and propagating virion particles. There is an important risk of morbidity and mortality caused by end-stage liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma with HDV and current treatment is pegylated-interferon (PEG-IFN) for 48 weeks with no other options in patients who fail treatment. The ideal goal for HDV treatment is the clearance of HBsAg, but a reasonably achievable goal is a sustained HDV virological response (negative HDV RNA 6 months after stopping treatment). New drug development must take into account the interaction of HBV and HDV. In this review, we will present the new insights in the HDV life cycle that have led to the development of novel classes of drugs and discuss antiviral approaches in phase II and III of development: bulevirtide (entry inhibitor), lonafarnib, (prenylation inhibitor) and REP 2139 (HBsAg release inhibitor).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/liv.14356DOI Listing
February 2020

A same day 'test and treat' model for chronic HCV and HBV infection: Results from two community-based pilot studies in Egypt.

J Viral Hepat 2020 06 10;27(6):593-601. Epub 2020 Mar 10.

Global Hepatitis Programme, Department of HIV, Hepatitis and STIs (HHS), World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.

Prompt access to confirmatory viral load testing and staging of liver disease are key barriers in uptake of treatment for chronic hepatitis B and C infection. Our objective was to establish the feasibility of a same day 'test and treat' model in two distinct community-based settings in Egypt through use of key point-of-care (POC) portable tools for HCV and HBV viral load assessment and staging of liver disease followed by treatment initiation. Community sites were a village in northern Egypt (site 1) and a government office in Cairo (site 2). The following model was adopted: community awareness raising in the week before project initiation; site assessment to ensure optimal placement and calibration of equipment and clinical care set-up; transfer of key portable laboratory instruments to the sites (four cartridge GeneXpert, FibroScan and abdominal ultrasound); screening using rapid diagnostic tests for HCV-Ab and HBsAg, with immediate venous or finger-stick blood sampling for HCV-RNA and HBV-DNA assay, FibroScan staging of liver disease and ultrasound screening for liver cancer. At site 1, 475 individuals were screened over a single day, 125 were positive for HCV-Ab and 4 for HBsAg, 43 of 56 new HCV diagnoses were HCV RNA positive, and 3 of 4 HBsAg positive were HBV DNA positive, 40 initiated HCV treatment, and one HBV treatment . At site 2, 3188 individuals were screened over 3 days, 157 were positive for HCV-Ab, and 27 for HBsAg; 38 of 76 new HCV diagnoses were HCV RNA positive, and 15 of 18 HBsAg positive were HBV-DNA positive. Across both sites, 78 patients were counselled and initiated on treatment for HCV and 12 for HBV within 3 and 4 hours, respectively, of initial positive rapid diagnostic test result. We have shown the feasibility of a same day 'test and treat' model for chronic HCV and HBV infection in two community-based settings in Egypt that achieved high levels of linkage to care and initial treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jvh.13268DOI Listing
June 2020

Efficacy and safety of elbasvir/grazoprevir for 8 or 12 weeks for hepatitis C virus genotype 4 infection: A randomized study.

Liver Int 2020 05 22;40(5):1042-1051. Epub 2020 Mar 22.

Department of Hepatology, Hôpital de Hautepierre, Universitaires de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France.

Background & Aims: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype (GT) 4 infection is prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, particularly in Egypt. This study evaluated the safety and efficacy of elbasvir/grazoprevir administered for 8 and 12 weeks in participants with HCV GT4 infection.

Methods: In this partially randomized, open-label multicentre study conducted in France (NCT03111108; Protocol MK5172-096), treatment-naive participants with GT4 infection and F0-F2 fibrosis were randomized 2:1 to elbasvir (50 mg)/grazoprevir (100 mg) for 8 or 12 weeks. Treatment-naive participants with F3-F4 fibrosis and all treatment-experienced participants (F0-F4) were assigned to elbasvir/grazoprevir for 12 weeks. The primary endpoint was sustained virologic response (SVR) 12 weeks after the end of therapy.

Results: One hundred and seventeen participants were enrolled. Among treatment-naive participants with F0-F2 fibrosis, SVR was achieved by 94% (50/53) and 96% (26/27) of those receiving elbasvir/grazoprevir for 8 or 12 weeks, respectively, and four participants relapsed. In the 12-week arm, 95% (35/37) achieved SVR and two participants relapsed. NS5A resistance-associated substitutions were present at baseline and virologic failure in five of the participants with relapse. Drug-related adverse events occurred in 42% (n = 22) and 50% (n = 32) of participants receiving 8 and 12 weeks of treatment, respectively. No participant discontinued treatment owing to an adverse event.

Conclusion: These data confirm the efficacy of elbasvir/grazoprevir administered for 12 weeks in treatment-experienced individuals with HCV GT4 infection and those with advanced fibrosis. Treatment-naive individuals with mild fibrosis can be treated effectively with an 8-week regimen.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/liv.14313DOI Listing
May 2020

Targets and future direct-acting antiviral approaches to achieve hepatitis B virus cure.

Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol 2019 11;4(11):883-892

Around 257 million people worldwide have chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, which leads to almost 1 million deaths per year from complications, mainly decompensated cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. The development of effective treatments for hepatitis C virus has led to hope for a cure for HBV. Current treatments for HBV infection include pegylated interferon-alfa, which is associated with modest efficacy and poor tolerability, or nucleoside analogues, which require lifelong administration and rarely achieve hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) loss. Understanding the HBV lifecycle is essential to develop new approaches, since each step is a potential target for drug development. New direct-acting antivirals for HBV in development include entry inhibitors, capsid assembly modulators, and drugs targeting cccDNA or HBV RNA, and HBsAg secretion inhibitors. In this Review, we discuss potential targets and direct-acting antiviral approaches in development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2468-1253(19)30190-6DOI Listing
November 2019

Adherence to pan-genotypic glecaprevir/pibrentasvir and efficacy in HCV-infected patients: A pooled analysis of clinical trials.

Liver Int 2020 04 18;40(4):778-786. Epub 2019 Oct 18.

Department of Hepatology, Centre de Recherche sur l'Inflammation (CRI), INSERM UMR 1149, University of Paris Diderot, AP-HP Hôpital Beaujon, Clichy, France.

Background & Aims: Adequate adherence to hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment is believed to be a key component of treatment success because non-adherence can potentially result in treatment failure and the emergence of resistant viral variants. This analysis assessed factors associated with non-adherence to glecaprevir/pibrentasvir (G/P) therapy and the impact of non-adherence on sustained virological response at post-treatment week 12 (SVR12) rates in HCV genotype (GT) 1-6-infected patients.

Methods: Adherence was calculated by pill counts at study visits during treatment, and defined as having a lowest treatment adherence of ≥80% and ≤120% at each study visit. Exploratory logistic regression modelling assessed predictors of non-adherence to G/P therapy. SVR12 rates by treatment adherence were assessed in the intent-to-treat (ITT) population and modified ITT (mITT) population, which excludes non-virological failures.

Results: Overall, 97% (2024/2091) of patients were adherent to G/P therapy at all consecutive study visits. Alcohol use was the only baseline characteristic independently associated with non-adherence to G/P therapy (OR: 2.38; 95% CI: 1.13-5.01; P = .022). In the mITT population, overall SVR12 rates were high both in patients who were adherent to G/P therapy and those who were not (99% [1983/2008] and 95% [58/61] respectively; P = .047). Corresponding SVR12 rates in the ITT population were 98% (1983/2024) and 87% (58/67) respectively.

Conclusions: Most patients adhered to G/P therapy. SVR12 rates were high both in patients who were adherent to G/P treatment and those who were not. Patient education on treatment adherence should remain an important part of HCV treatment.

Clinical Trials Registration: NCT02604017, NCT02640482, NCT02640157, NCT02636595, NCT02642432, NCT02651194, NCT02243293, NCT02446717.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/liv.14266DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7187170PMC
April 2020

Quantitative HBsAg: Not helpful to evaluate fibrosis in HBeAg-negative chronic hepatitis B patients.

Saudi J Gastroenterol 2019 Sep-Oct;25(5):269-271

Department of Hepatology, Universite Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cite, CRI, UMR 1149, Inserm, F-75018 Paris; Department of Hepatology, AP-HP Hopital Beaujon, Clichy, France.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/sjg.SJG_445_19DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6784434PMC
November 2019

Deferred treatment with a fixed-dose combination of sofosbuvir-velpatasvir for chronic hepatitis C virus genotype 1, 2, 4 and 6 infection.

J Viral Hepat 2019 10 4;26(10):1229-1232. Epub 2019 Aug 4.

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, USA.

Sofosbuvir-velpatasvir is approved for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. In this single-arm, open-label, phase 3, deferred treatment study, we investigated the efficacy and safety of sofosbuvir-velpatasvir among patients randomized to the placebo group in the ASTRAL-1 study. Patients received sofosbuvir-velpatasvir (400/100 mg) once daily for 12 weeks. The primary efficacy endpoint was the proportion of patients with sustained virologic response 12 weeks after the end of therapy (SVR12). The primary safety endpoint was any adverse events (AEs) leading to the permanent discontinuation of study drug. Overall, 108/111 (97%, 95% confidence interval [CI], 92%-99%) achieved SVR12, and only one patient had virological failure. SVR12 was achieved by 61/63 (97%, 95%CI, 89%-100%) genotype 1 patients, 20/20 (100%; 95%CI, 83%-100%) with genotype 2, 19/19 (100%; 95%CI, 82%-100%) with genotype 4 and 8/9 (89%; 95% CI, 52%-100%) with genotype 6. All (19/19; 95%CI, 82-100) patients with cirrhosis and all (31/31, 95%CI, 89-100) with prior treatment experience achieved SVR12. The safety profile during treatment was similar to that observed in patients receiving placebo treatment. The most common AEs were headache, fatigue and nausea. One patient (1%) discontinued treatment due to an AE of gallbladder carcinoma, which was not considered related to treatment. Of five reported serious AEs, none were considered related to study drug. Sofosbuvir-velpatasvir for 12 weeks was effective and well tolerated among untreated and previously treated patients with HCV genotype 1, 2, 4 or 6 infection, including those with compensated cirrhosis (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02346721).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jvh.13159DOI Listing
October 2019

Identification of 19 Novel Hepatitis C Virus Subtypes-Further Expanding HCV Classification.

Open Forum Infect Dis 2019 Mar 22;6(3):ofz076. Epub 2019 Feb 22.

Gilead Sciences Inc, Foster City, California.

Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is currently classified into 8 genotypes and 86 subtypes. The objective of this study was to characterize novel HCV subtypes and to investigate the impact of subtypes on treatment outcome.

Methods: Full-genome sequencing was performed on HCV plasma samples with <85% sequence homology of NS3, NS5A, and/or NS5B to HCV genotype (GT) 1-8 reference strains.

Results: A total of 14 653 patients with GT1-6 HCV infection were enrolled in clinical studies of sofosbuvir-based regimens. For the majority of the patients, a specific subtype could be assigned based on a close genetic relationship to previously described subtypes. However, for 19 patients, novel subtypes were identified with <85% homology compared with previously described subtypes. These novel subtypes had the following genotypes: 9 in GT2, 5 in GT4, 2 in GT6, and 1 each in GT1, GT3, and GT5. Despite the presence of polymorphisms at resistance-associated substitution positions, 18 of the 19 patients treated with sofosbuvir-containing therapy achieved SVR12.

Conclusions: Nineteen novel HCV subtypes were identified, suggesting an even greater genetic diversity of HCV subtypes than previously recognized.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ofid/ofz076DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6440686PMC
March 2019

Ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir plus ribavirin for 24 weeks in patients with HCV GT4 and compensated cirrhosis (AGATE-I Part II).

Health Sci Rep 2019 Mar 1;2(3):e92. Epub 2019 Mar 1.

AbbVie, Inc Chicago Illinois.

Background And Aims: AGATE-I Part I previously reported high sustained virologic response rates in hepatitis C genotype 4 patients with cirrhosis, with 12 and 16 weeks' treatment with a combination of two direct-acting antivirals, ombitasvir and paritaprevir (codosed with ritonavir), plus ribavirin. Part II, reported here, extended the trial to include a 24-week treatment arm to fully assess treatment duration in patients with chronic hepatitis C genotype 4 infection and compensated cirrhosis.

Methods: Enrollment took place between June and November of 2015. Treatment-naive and interferon-experienced patients with chronic hepatitis C genotype 4 infection and compensated cirrhosis were enrolled into Arm C; patients previously treated with a sofosbuvir-based regimen were enrolled into Arm D. All patients received a 24-week treatment with ombitasvir, paritaprevir, and ritonavir plus ribavirin. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients with a sustained virologic response (hepatitis C virus RNA < 25 IU/mL) at posttreatment week 12 in the intention-to-treat population. The safety population included all patients who received at least one dose of study drug.

Results: In total, 64 patients were enrolled into AGATE-I Part II. Sustained virologic response at posttreatment week 12 was achieved in 57 of 61 patients (93.4%; 97.5% confidence interval, 92.6-97.7) in Arm C and 3 of 3 patients (100%) in Arm D. Two patients were missing SVR12 data, and two prematurely discontinued treatment. The most common adverse events for Arm C were fatigue (16 [26%]) and asthenia (15 [25%]). Results were comparable with those reported in Part I.

Conclusions: AGATE-I Part II indicates that extending treatment beyond 12 weeks in genotype 4-infected patients with compensated cirrhosis does not offer additional benefit.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hsr2.92DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6427060PMC
March 2019

Clinical outcomes in patients with chronic hepatitis C after direct-acting antiviral treatment: a prospective cohort study.

Lancet 2019 Apr 11;393(10179):1453-1464. Epub 2019 Feb 11.

AP-HP, Hôpital Cochin, Unité d'Hépatologie, Paris, France; Université Paris Descartes, INSERM U1223 and USM-20, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.

Background: Although direct-acting antivirals have been used extensively to treat patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, their clinical effectiveness has not been well reported. We compared the incidence of death, hepatocellular carcinoma, and decompensated cirrhosis between patients treated with direct-acting antivirals and those untreated, in the French ANRS CO22 Hepather cohort.

Methods: We did a prospective study in adult patients with chronic HCV infection enrolled from 32 expert hepatology centres in France. We excluded patients with chronic hepatitis B, those with a history of decompensated cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, or liver transplantation, and patients who were treated with interferon-ribavirin with or without first-generation protease inhibitors. Co-primary study outcomes were incidence of all-cause mortality, hepatocellular carcinoma, and decompensated cirrhosis. The association between direct-acting antivirals and these outcomes was quantified using time-dependent Cox proportional hazards models. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01953458.

Findings: Between Aug 6, 2012, and Dec 31, 2015, 10 166 patients were eligible for the study. 9895 (97%) patients had available follow-up information and were included in analyses. Median follow-up was 33·4 months (IQR 24·0-40·7). Treatment with direct-acting antivirals was initiated during follow-up in 7344 patients, and 2551 patients remained untreated at the final follow-up visit. During follow-up, 218 patients died (129 treated, 89 untreated), 258 reported hepatocellular carcinoma (187 treated, 71 untreated), and 106 had decompensated cirrhosis (74 treated, 32 untreated). Exposure to direct-acting antivirals was associated with increased risk for hepatocellular carcinoma (unadjusted hazard ratio [HR] 2·77, 95% CI 2·07-3·71) and decompensated cirrhosis (3·83, 2·29-6·42). After adjustment for variables (age, sex, body-mass index, geographical origin, infection route, fibrosis score, HCV treatment-naive, HCV genotype, alcohol consumption, diabetes, arterial hypertension, biological variables, and model for end-stage liver disease score in patients with cirrhosis), exposure to direct-acting antivirals was associated with a decrease in all-cause mortality (adjusted HR 0·48, 95% CI 0·33-0·70) and hepatocellular carcinoma (0·66, 0·46-0·93), and was not associated with decompensated cirrhosis (1·14, 0·57-2·27).

Interpretation: Treatment with direct-acting antivirals is associated with reduced risk for mortality and hepatocellular carcinoma and should be considered in all patients with chronic HCV infection.

Funding: INSERM-ANRS (France Recherche Nord & Sud Sida-HIV Hépatites), ANR (Agence Nationale de la Recherche), DGS (Direction Générale de la Santé), MSD, Janssen, Gilead, AbbVie, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Roche.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(18)32111-1DOI Listing
April 2019

Safety and efficacy of glecaprevir/pibrentasvir for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C in patients aged 65 years or older.

PLoS One 2019 2;14(1):e0208506. Epub 2019 Jan 2.

AbbVie Inc., North Chicago, Illinois, United States of America.

Finding safe and effective treatments for chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in the elderly is of clinical interest given the comorbidities and associated polypharmacy in this population. However, the number of patients older than age 65 years enrolled into clinical trials of anti-HCV medications generally have been limited and thus reaching meaningful conclusions for this demographic has been difficult. Glecaprevir/pibrentasvir is a once-daily, all-oral, ribavirin-free, pangenotypic direct-acting antiviral (DAA) combination therapy that has demonstrated high sustained virologic response rates at post-treatment week 12 (SVR12) and a favorable safety profile in patients with chronic HCV infection. This analysis evaluated the safety and efficacy of glecaprevir/pibrentasvir in patients aged ≥65 years. Data were pooled for treatment-naïve and -experienced patients with chronic HCV genotype (GT) 1-6 infections who received glecaprevir/pibrentasvir for 8, 12, or 16 weeks in 9 Phase 2 and 3 trials. SVR12 and adverse events (AEs) were evaluated for patients aged ≥65 versus <65 years. Of the 2369 patients enrolled, 328 (14%) were aged ≥65 years. Among patients aged ≥65 years, 42% and 34% had GT1 and GT2, respectively; 40% were treatment-experienced and 20% had compensated cirrhosis. Glecaprevir/pibrentasvir treatment resulted in SVR12 rates of 97.9% (95% CI, 96.3-99.4; n/N = 321/328) for patients aged ≥65 years and 97.3% (95% CI, 96.6-98.0; n/N = 1986/2041) for patients aged <65 years. The rates were not significantly different between the two age groups (P = 0.555). DAA-related AEs leading to treatment discontinuation, or serious AEs were similarly rare (<0.5%) for patients ≥65 and <65 years old. Glecaprevir/pibrentasvir is an efficacious and well-tolerated treatment option for patients aged ≥65 years with chronic HCV infection.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0208506PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6314565PMC
September 2019

Glecaprevir/pibrentasvir in patients with chronic HCV and recent drug use: An integrated analysis of 7 phase III studies.

Drug Alcohol Depend 2019 01 24;194:487-494. Epub 2018 Nov 24.

AbbVie Inc., 1 North Waukegan Road, North Chicago, IL, USA.

Background: Injection drug use is the primary mode of transmission for hepatitis C virus (HCV), and treatment guidelines recommend treating HCV-infected people who use drugs; however, concerns about adherence, effectiveness, and reinfection have impeded treatment uptake.

Methods: Data were pooled from seven phase III trials that evaluated the efficacy and safety of 8 or 12 weeks of glecaprevir/pibrentasvir (G/P) in patients chronically infected with HCV genotypes 1-6. Patients had compensated liver disease, with or without cirrhosis, and were HCV treatment-naïve or -experienced with interferon or pegylated interferon ± ribavirin, or sofosbuvir plus ribavirin ± pegylated interferon. Patients were grouped into recent drug users (injection drug use ≤12 months before screening, positive urine drug screen [UDS], and/or drug-related adverse event), former drug users (>12 months before screening and negative UDS), or non-drug users. Assessments included sustained virologic response at 12 weeks posttreatment (SVR12), treatment adherence, and safety.

Results: Among 1819 patients, 5%, 34%, and 61% were recent, former, and non-drug users, respectively. Treatment adherence and completion were high (≥96%) regardless of drug use status. SVR12 was achieved by 93% (n/N = 91/98), 97% (n/N = 591/610), and >99% (n/N = 1106/1111) of recent, former, and non-drug users, respectively (intention-to-treat analysis). The overall rates of virologic failure were ≤1.5% across all three subpopulations, with no HCV reinfections among recent drug users. Drug-related serious adverse events and adverse events leading to treatment discontinuation were experienced by ≤1% of patients.

Conclusions: G/P is a well-tolerated and efficacious pangenotypic regimen for chronic HCV-infected people with recent or active drug use.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2018.11.007DOI Listing
January 2019

Efficacy and safety of glecaprevir/pibrentasvir in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus genotype 5 or 6 infection (ENDURANCE-5,6): an open-label, multicentre, phase 3b trial.

Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol 2019 Jan 2;4(1):45-51. Epub 2018 Nov 2.

National Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Background: The pangenotypic direct-acting antiviral regimen of glecaprevir coformulated with pibrentasvir is approved to treat chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1-6 infection in adults. In registrational studies, 84 (99%) of 85 patients with HCV genotype 5 or 6 infection achieved a sustained virological response (SVR) with glecaprevir/pibrentasvir, with no virological failures. To increase the body of data for these less prevalent genotypes, ENDURANCE-5,6 evaluated the efficacy and safety of glecaprevir/pibrentasvir exclusively in patients infected with HCV genotype 5 or 6.

Methods: ENDURANCE-5,6 was a phase 3b, single-arm, open-label, multicentre trial done in 24 hospitals or clinics in Europe, Oceania, North America, South Africa, and southeast Asia. Adults with chronic HCV genotype 5 or 6 infection who were previously untreated or treatment-experienced were eligible to be enrolled. Glecaprevir/pibrentasvir (300 mg/120 mg) was given orally once daily for 8 weeks (for patients without cirrhosis) or 12 weeks (for patients with compensated cirrhosis). The primary efficacy endpoint was SVR12 (ie, HCV RNA <15 IU/mL at 12 weeks post-treatment), assessed within each HCV genotype, and analysed in the intention-to-treat population. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT02966795.

Findings: Between Feb 9, 2017, and Aug 28, 2018, 84 patients were enrolled: 23 with genotype 5 infection and 61 with genotype 6 infection. Overall, 82 (97·6%, 95% CI 94·4-100·0) of the 84 patients achieved SVR12. 22 (95·7%, 95% CI 87·3-100·0) of 23 patients with genotype 5 infection achieved SVR12, as did 60 (98·4%, CI 95·2-100·0) of 61 with genotype 6 infection. One patient with an HCV genotype 6f infection and cirrhosis had on-treatment virological failure at treatment week 12, and one patient with HCV genotype 5a without cirrhosis who had achieved SVR at post-treatment week 4 relapsed at post-treatment week 12. Five (6%) patients had serious adverse events, none of which were deemed related to glecaprevir/pibrentsavir or led to discontinuation. Fatigue (11 [13%] patients) and headache (11 [13%]) were the only adverse events that occurred in 10% or more of patients. No post-baseline grade 3 or higher increases in aminotransferase concentrations were reported.

Interpretation: Glecaprevir/pibrentasvir achieved high SVR12 rates, comparable with data reported in registrational studies, and was well tolerated in patients with HCV genotype 5 or 6 infection with compensated liver disease.

Funding: AbbVie.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2468-1253(18)30341-8DOI Listing
January 2019

A genotype-specific baseline score predicts post-treatment response to peginterferon alfa-2a in hepatitis B e antigen-negative chronic hepatitis B.

Ann Gastroenterol 2018 Nov-Dec;31(6):712-721. Epub 2018 Jul 26.

Department of Gastroenterology, Medical School of National & Kapodistrian University of Athens, Laiko General Hospital, Athens, Greece (George V. Papatheodoridis).

Background: Peginterferon alfa-2a induces durable responses in some hepatitis B e antigen-negative patients, but robust pretreatment predictors are not available to identify likely responders. In this study we aimed to develop genotype-specific baseline scoring systems to predict response.

Methods: Data from 323 hepatitis B e antigen-negative peginterferon alfa-2a recipients from three studies were analyzed. Scoring systems were developed using generalized additive models and multiple logistic regression analysis. Response was defined as hepatitis B virus DNA <2000 IU/mL alone (virological response) or in combination with alanine aminotransferase normalization (combined response) 48 weeks post-treatment.

Results: Points were assigned to genotype B/C patients for: age, alanine aminotransferase ratio, genotype B or C, and hepatitis B surface antigen level; and to genotype D patients for age, hepatitis B surface antigen level and hepatitis B virus DNA level. Higher total scores (range 0-5 for B/C; 0-3 for D) indicated a higher likelihood of response. Among genotype B/C patients with scores of 0-1, 2 and ≥3, respectively, virological response rates were 16.7%, 25.8% and 70.2%, and combined response rates were 12.5%, 21.0% and 57.4%. Among genotype D patients with scores of 0-1, 2 and 3, respectively, virological response rates were 10.1%, 28.0% and 50.0%, and combined response rates were 7.8%, 28.0% and 33.3%.

Conclusion: Genotype-specific baseline scoring systems can identify hepatitis B e antigen-negative patients with low or high likelihood of achieving sustained responses to peginterferon alfa-2a.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.20524/aog.2018.0300DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6191871PMC
July 2018

French Patients with Hepatitis C Treated with Direct-Acting Antiviral Combinations: The Effect on Patient-Reported Outcomes.

Value Health 2018 10 21;21(10):1218-1225. Epub 2018 Feb 21.

Department of Medicine, Center for Liver Diseases, Inova Fairfax Hospital, Falls Church, VA, USA; Betty and Guy Beatty Center for Integrated Research, Inova Health System, Falls Church, VA, USA. Electronic address:

Background: In addition to high efficacy, new anti-hepatitis C virus (HCV) regimens improve patient-reported outcomes (PROs), which must be considered by policymakers in different countries when deciding upon treatment coverage.

Objective: To assess PROs of French patients with HCV treated with different antiviral regimens.

Methods: French patients with HCV from 11 clinical trials were included. PROs were measured before, during, and after treatment (Short Form-36 version 2, Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Fatigue, Chronic Liver Disease Questionnaire-HCV, and Work Productivity and Activity Index: Specific Health Problem).

Results: A total of 931 subjects (age 54 ± 10 years, 60.3% males, 55% employed, 33.5% cirrhotic, 50% treatment-naive, and 45.6% genotype 1) were treated with a combination of interferon, ribavirin, and sofosbuvir (IFN + RBV + SOF) (N = 11; excluded from comparisons), SOF/RBV ± ledipasvir (LDV) (N = 202), IFN/RBV-free (LDV/SOF, SOF/velpatasvir, or SOF/velpatasvir/voxilaprevir) (N = 594), or placebo (N = 124). The sustained virologic response 12 (SVR-12) rates were 87.1% for IFN-free RBV-containing regimens, 97.6% for IFN/RBV-free regimens, and 0% for placebo. Baseline PRO scores were not different across the treatment groups (all P > 0.10). At the end of treatment, patients treated with IFN-free SOF/RBV ± LDV experienced moderate declines in their PRO scores (up to -7.9% of a PRO range size; P < 0.05), and placebo-treated group did not have significant changes in their PROs (P > 0.05). In contrast, the IFN/RBV-free group experienced significant on-treatment improvement in most PROs (up to +7.9%; P < 0.05). Despite those on-treatment differences, most PROs improved with SVR-12 and SVR-24 regardless of the regimen. In comparison with matched controls from the United States treated with the same regimens, French subjects had lower baseline PROs but similar or greater post-SVR PRO improvements.

Conclusions: The use of IFN- and RBV-free regimens leads to significant PRO improvement during treatment and after SVR in French patients with HCV.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jval.2018.01.006DOI Listing
October 2018

Treatment efficacy of ledipasvir/sofosbuvir for 8 weeks in non-cirrhotic chronic hepatitis C genotype 4 patients.

Saudi J Gastroenterol 2019 Jan-Feb;25(1):55-60

Gastroenterology Unit, Department of Medicine, King Abdulaziz Medical City, Jeddah; Liver Disease Research Center, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Background/aims: Ledipasvir/sofosbuvir (LDV/SOF) combination is administered for 12 to 24 weeks to treat hepatitis C virus (HCV); guidelines recommend 8 weeks treatment duration for HCV genotype (GT) 1 infection based on the patient's baseline characteristics. Data on treating HCV GT4 with LDV/SOF are limited. In this prospective cohort study, the efficacy and safety of 8 weeks treatment duration with LDV/SOF was evaluated in HCV GT4 patients in Saudi Arabia.

Patients And Methods: Treatment-naïve, non-cirrhotic HCV GT4 patients received LDV/SOF for 8 weeks. HCV RNA levels and laboratory evaluations were recorded at baseline and at Weeks 4, 8, and 20. The primary endpoint was sustained virologic response 12 weeks after the end of the treatment (SVR12). Safety data were also recorded.

Results: Forty-five patients with a mean age of 43.9 ± 17.2 years participated, of whom 57.8% were male. Mean logHCV RNA was 6.26 ± 6.32 IU/mL and most (91.1%) had baseline HCV RNA levels <6 million IU/mL. The most frequent comorbidities were hypertension and diabetes mellitus (20.0% each). Concomitant medication was taken by 18 patients (40.0%), of whom two took proton pump inhibitors. Overall, SVR12 was 97.8% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 88.2%-99.9%); one patient (2.2%) relapsed post treatment. No serious adverse events or discontinuations were reported. Eighteen patients (44.4%) had 38 adverse events related to LDV/SOF; the most frequent was headache.

Conclusions: An 8-week regimen of LDV/SOF was well tolerated and efficacious in this treatment-naïve, non-cirrhotic HCV GT4-infected population. This study provides valuable information on a short treatment regimen for HCV GT4 infection in a real-world setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/sjg.SJG_189_18DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6373216PMC
April 2019