BACKGROUND & AIMS:
Acute hepatitis C virus infections (AHCV) are prevalent among HIV positive men having sex with men and generally treated with pegylated interferon-alpha (PegIFN) and ribavirin (RBV) during 24weeks. The addition of a protease inhibitor could shorten therapy without loss of efficacy.
We performed an open-label, single arm study to investigate the efficacy and safety of a 12-week course of boceprevir, PegIFN and RBV for AHCV genotype 1 infections in 10 Dutch HIV treatment centers. The primary endpoint of the study was achievement of sustained virological response rate at week 12 (SVR12) in patients reaching a rapid viral response at week 4 (RVR4) and SVR12 in the intent to treat (ITT) entire study population was the most relevant secondary endpoint.
One hundred twenty-seven AHCV patients were screened in 16months, of which 65 AHCV genotype 1 patients were included. After spontaneous clearance in six patients and withdrawal before treatment initiation in two, 57 started therapy within 26weeks after infection. RVR4 rate was 72%. SVR12 rate was 100% in the RVR4 group. SVR12 rate in the ITT group was 86% and comparable to the SVR12 rate of 84% in 73 historical controls treated for 24weeks with PegIFN and RBV in the same study centers.
With the addition of boceprevir to PegIFN and RBV, treatment duration of AHCV genotype 1 can be reduced to 12weeks without loss of efficacy. Given the high drug costs and limited availability of interferon-free regimens, boceprevir PegIFN and RBV can be a considered a valid treatment option for AHCV. ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01912495.