A comparison of the natural history and outcome of treatment for Asian and non-Asian hepatitis C-infected patients.
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Ethnicity is an important host variable, but its impact on disease progression and response to therapy in Hepatitis C infection is unclear. Here we compare the natural history and outcome of therapy in white and Asian (Indian subcontinent) Hepatitis C infected patients. A total of 2123 White and 120 Asian HCV infected patients were identified within the Trent HCV study. Response to therapy was assessed in 224 white and 46 Asian patients with genotype 3 infection who received pegylated interferon and ribavirin. Asian patients were more likely to be older, female, infected with genotype 3 and to consume no alcohol. At time of first biopsy, fibrosis stage was significantly higher in Asian patients than in Whites (3.0 ± 2.3 vs 1.8 ± 2.0, P < 0.001), as were necro-inflammation and steatosis scores. However, in those patients where duration of infection could be estimated, fibrosis progression was similar for both groups (0.25 ± 0.31 vs. 0.16 ± 0.54 Ishak points/year, P = 0.068). 78.3% of Asian and 67.9% of White genotype 3 patients had a sustained virological response following Pegylated Interferon and Ribavirin. Cirrhosis and increased levels of GGT, but not ethnicity were associated with a reduction in the likelihood of a sustained virological response on multivariate analysis. Asian patients with Hepatitis C are more likely to be female, less likely to give a history of risk factors, present to medical services at an older age, and have more severe liver disease at diagnosis, but disease progression and response to treatment are similar to white patients.