CHICAGO, May 9, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Genotyping of patients with advanced cirrhosis from hepatitis C virus could help health-care professionals predict the likelihood of improvement after successful hepatitis C treatment, thus minimizing the need for liver transplants. This study was presented at Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) 2017.
"Our findings further the move toward precision medicine, because we can potentially use a person's genetic makeup to identify individuals who can benefit most from hepatitis C treatment," said Winston Dunn, MD, the study's lead author and associate professor at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
Most patients with hepatitis C virus can be cured by direct-acting antiviral agents (DAAs), but some with the more serious decompensated cirrhosis fail to improve or experience further deterioration even after treatment.
Dr. Dunn's team focused on the Rs738409 single nucleotide polymorphism, which is a variation in a single base pair of DNA in the PNPLA3 gene; patients possess one of three genotypes — CC, CG, or GG. The PNPLA3 gene is the most important genetic risk factor for both alcoholic liver disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
The team followed 32 patients with decompensated cirrhosis who had initially achieved sustained virologic response (SVR). They had become essentially virus-free, using interferon-free DAAs. Twelve to 48 weeks after SVR, researchers tracked changes in the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) and the Child-Pugh (CPT) scores, measures that assess the severity of chronic liver disease.
Following DAA treatment, researchers found that five of the 16 patients with the CG or GG genotypes experienced worsened MELD or CPT scores. In comparison, only one patient with the CC genotype worsened in either score.
"These findings suggest screening for the Rs738409 CG and GG genotypes in hepatitis C patients with decompensated cirrhosis can help to identify individuals who are less likely to recover after achieving a 'cure' of their hepatitis C," added Dr. Dunn.
Financial support for this study was provided by the Frontiers Pilot and Collaborative Studies Funding Program.
Digestive Disease Week (DDW) 2017 is the largest international gathering of physicians, researchers and academics in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery. More information can be found at www.ddw.org.
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SOURCE Digestive Disease Week