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See detailResponse of Black African patients with hepatitis C virus genotype 4 to treatment with peg-interferon and ribavirin
Nkuize, M; Mulkay, JP; Adler, M et al

in Acta Gastro-Enterologica Belgica (2013), 76

Aim : To compare responses to therapy of Black African (BA) and non-Black African (non- BA) patients with hepatitis C virus genotype 4 (HCV-4) residing in Belgium. Methods : In this retrospective ... [more ▼]

Aim : To compare responses to therapy of Black African (BA) and non-Black African (non- BA) patients with hepatitis C virus genotype 4 (HCV-4) residing in Belgium. Methods : In this retrospective multicenter study, 473 patients with HCV-4 were selected from databases at 7 Belgian centers ; 209 treatment-naïve patients (154 BA) had received treatment with peg-interferon (peg-IFN) plus ribavirin (RBV) and were included in the study. Results : There was a greater percentage of female patients in the BA group than in the non- BA group ; BA patients were also older, had a greater body mass index, and more frequently had abnormal glucose metabolism. The route of contamination was more frequently unknown in BA than in non-BA patients and BA patients had more HCV-4 subtypes. There were no differences in other demographic factors between the groups. Sustained viral response (SVR) and complete early viral response rates were significantly lower and relapse rates significantly higher in BA than in non-BA patients. There were no differences between groups in rates of dose modification or in drug tolerance. Conclusion : In our cohort, treatment-naïve BA patients with HCV-4 who were treated with peg-IFN and ribavirin had a much lower SVR rate than treatment-naïve non-BA patients with HCV- 4 who were treated with peg-IFN and ribavirin, and a higher relapse rate, possibly related to a weaker response to interferonbased therapy. Treatment may need to be adapted in this population. [less ▲]

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See detailHepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus infection in Belgium: similarities and differences in epidemic and initial management
De Vroey, B; Moreno, C; Laleman, W et al

in European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology (2013), 25(5), 613-619

Introduction Nationwide studies comparing patients with hepatitis B and C virus (HBV and HCV) infections are mandatory for assessing changes in epidemiology. Aim The aim of this study was to compare ... [more ▼]

Introduction Nationwide studies comparing patients with hepatitis B and C virus (HBV and HCV) infections are mandatory for assessing changes in epidemiology. Aim The aim of this study was to compare epidemiological data and initial management of newly diagnosed patients with persistent HBV (HBsAg positive) or HCV (detectable HCV RNA) infection in Belgium. Patients and methods Data were extracted from two Belgian observational databases. Results A total of 655 patients (387 HBV and 268 HCV) were included. Compared with HCV patients, HBV patients were younger, more frequently men, more often of Asian or African origin (43 vs. 10%, P < 0.0001), and less frequently contaminated by transfusion or intravenous drug use (9 and 6% vs. 34 and 44%, P< 0.0001). Viral replication was assessed in 89% of HBV patients. Compared with HCV patients, HBV patients more frequently had normal alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels (65 vs. 29%, P < 0.0001), less frequently underwent liver biopsy (29 vs. 67%, P < 0.0001), and were less often considered for antiviral therapy (25 vs. 54%, P < 0.0001). When taking only HBV patients with detectable viral replication into consideration, results remained unchanged. During the multivariate analysis, ALT was a major factor for performing liver biopsy or considering antiviral therapy in both groups. Conclusion HBV and HCV screening policies should be targeted toward immigrants and intravenous drug users, respectively. Guidelines recommending systematic search for viral replication should be reinforced in HBV patients. HBV patients less frequently underwent liver biopsy and were less often considered for antiviral therapy compared with HCV patients. Despite the lack of sensitivity and specificity, ALT remains a pivotal decision-making tool for liver biopsy and antiviral therapy in both infections. [less ▲]

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See detailHBV infection in Belgium: results of the BASL observatory of 1456 HBsAg carriers.
Deltenre, P.; Laleman, W.; Van Gossum, M. et al

in Acta Gastro-Enterologica Belgica (2012), 75(1), 35-41

Introduction : Nationwide studies are mandatory to assess changes in the epidemiology of HBV infection in Europe. Aim : To describe epidemiological characteristics of HBsAgpositive patients, especially ... [more ▼]

Introduction : Nationwide studies are mandatory to assess changes in the epidemiology of HBV infection in Europe. Aim : To describe epidemiological characteristics of HBsAgpositive patients, especially inactive carriers, and to evaluate how practitioners manage HBV patients in real life. Methods : Belgian physicians were asked to report all chronically infected HBV patients during a one-year period. Results : Among 1,456 patients included, 1,035 (71%) were classified into one of four phases of chronic infection : immune tolerance (n = 10), HBeAg-positive hepatitis (n = 248), HBeAgnegative hepatitis (n = 420) and inactive carrier state (n = 357 HBeAg-negative patients with ALT < upper limit of normal (ULN) and HBV DNA < 2,000 IU/mL). Using less restrictive criteria for ALT (1-2 ULN) or HBV DNA (2,000-20,000 IU/mL), 93 unclassified patients were added to the group of inactive carriers. These 93 additional inactive carriers were younger, more frequently males, with similar risk factors for HBV infection and histological features compared to inactive carriers according to recent guidelines. Recent guidelines on management of HBV patients were generally followed, but systematic HBV DNA measurements and HDV coinfection screening should be reinforced. Conclusion : In Belgium, an inactive carrier state was a common form of chronic HBV infection. Using less restrictive criteria for classification of inactive carriers did not modify their main characteristics and seemed better adapted to clinical practice. Recent guidelines on management of HBV patients should be reinforced. [less ▲]

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See detailAre patients with HBV and HCV infection different? Comparison between 2 cohorts of newly diagnosed cases included in prospective registries of the Belgian Association for the Study of the Liver
De Vroey, B.; Moreno, C.; Laleman, W. et al

in Acta Gastro-Enterologica Belgica (2011, March), 74(1), 21

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See detailHepatitis C genotype 4 response rate to pegylated interferon and ribavirin treatment in Belgium is similar to genotype 1
de Galocsy, C.; Kaufman, L.; Tomasovic, S. et al

in Acta Gastro-Enterologica Belgica (2010), 73

Background and aims : Patients with genotype 4 (G4) chronic hepatitis C from the Middle East respond better to treatment than genotype 1 (G1) patients. There are few data on the response rates to ... [more ▼]

Background and aims : Patients with genotype 4 (G4) chronic hepatitis C from the Middle East respond better to treatment than genotype 1 (G1) patients. There are few data on the response rates to treatment of G4 patients living in Western Europe. Many G4 patients in Belgium originate from Central Africa, and their response to treatment seems lower. Methods : We analysed the data from 2 randomized phase III studies conducted in Belgium, BerNar-1 and BerNar-2, comparing the sustained virological response (SVR) to pegylated interferon and ribavirin of 78 G4 patients (34 Caucasians, 44 Blacks) and 477 G1 patients (455 Caucasians, 12 Blacks), and assessing the predictors of SVR. Results : Baseline characteristics of G4 and G1 patients were similar except mainly for race. Complete early virological response (cEVR) was similar in G4 (73.2%) and G1 (68.1%). cEVR was also similar between Black and Caucasian G4 and between Black and Caucasian G1 patients. Partial early virological response was similar for G4 and G1. SVR was similar for G4 (51.3%) and G1 (51.8%). There was a trend for a higher SVR in Caucasians than in Blacks. In multivariate analysis, the only predictors for SVR were the presence of cirrhosis, HCV viral load, age < 40 vs 40 yrs, and treatment status (relapsers vs naïve). Conclusions : G4 patients in Belgium have the same SVR as G1 patients. It is lower than the SVR described in Arab countries, especially for Black G4 patients. (Acta gastro enterol. belg., 2010, 73, 229-234). [less ▲]

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See detailDaily induction combination treatment with alpha 2b interferon and ribavirin or standard combination treatment in naive chronic hepatitis C patients. A multicentre randomized controlled trial
Van Vlierberghe, H.; Leroux-Roels, G.; Adler, M. et al

in Journal of Viral Hepatitis (2003), 10(6), 460-466

The standard treatment for patients with chronic hepatitis C is a 6-12-month combination therapy with interferon alpha and ribavirin. Induction treatment could result in a faster early decline of the ... [more ▼]

The standard treatment for patients with chronic hepatitis C is a 6-12-month combination therapy with interferon alpha and ribavirin. Induction treatment could result in a faster early decline of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) load and a better response rate. Naive chronically infected HCV patients (n = 454) were randomized into two arms to receive either induction treatment with interferon alpha 2b 5 million units (MU) subcutaneously (s.c.) daily during a period of 8 weeks (arm A); or treatment with interferon alpha 2b 5 MU s.c. three times a week (TIW) for a period of 8 weeks (arm B). After week 8, interferon treatment in both arms was 3 MU s.c. TIW for a total period of 12 months. In both arms, ribavirin (1000-1200 mg orally per day) was added at week 4. Induction treatment resulted in a higher virological response at week 8 of treatment (66%vs 47%; P < 0.01). However, response at the end of treatment and at 6 months follow-up was not different (53%vs 50%, 41%vs 33%). The occurrence of adverse events and the drop-out rate were similar in both arms. Although an early virological response is observed more frequently in the induction treatment, end of treatment response and sustained responses did not differ. [less ▲]

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