C5b-9 and interleukin-6 in chronic hepatitis C: Surrogate markers predicting short-term response to interferon alpha-2b

L. Biro, L. Varga, A. Par, E. Nemesanszky, L. Telegdy, E. Ibranyi, K. David, G. Horvath, L. Szentgyorgyi, I. Nagy, L. Dalmi, M. Abonyi, G. Fust, M. Horanyi, A. Csepregi

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Available data and our observations suggest that elevated levels of interleukin (IL)-6 and -10 and some complement parameters may be associated with a poor response to IFN alpha. We evaluated how baseline levels of C5b-9, IL-6, and IL-10 influence the outcome of IFN alpha treatment. Methods: Fifty-one patients with established chronic hepatitis C were enrolled and treated with IFN alpha-2b. Before and after a 12-week-IFN-treatment (3 MU or 5 MU tiw) serum levels of IL-6, IL-10, C5b-9 and RNA of hepatitis C virus (HCV) were assessed. Sera of 46 sex- and age-matched, healthy blood donors served as control. Results: While two-thirds of patients was considered 'responder', 14 patients had no significant decrease either in HCV RNA or in ALT levels. In the responder's group lower baseline levels of IL-6 and C5b-9 were found than those in the 'non-responder' group. As a result of IFN therapy HCV RNA and C5b-9 levels significantly decreased. While the serum concentration of IL-6 increased during the follow-up period, regarding IL-10, no change was observed. In patients with 'low' baseline levels of C5b-9 (<2053 ng/ml) IFN alpha resulted in a significantly (P = 0.0005) higher decrease in HCV RNA level. Regarding 'low' IL-6 values (<1.47 pg/ml) similar but somewhat less significant (P = 0.0039) difference was found if the change of HCV RNA was investigated. The odds ratio of patients with low IL-6 and/or C5b-9 to responding to IFN alpha treatment was almost 10 times (CI: 9.1 (1.8-50.9)) higher as compared with patients without 'low' levels of these parameters. Conclusion: Our data suggest that serum level(s) of IL-6 and/or C5b-9 taken prior to the initiation of IFN treatment may serve as surrogate marker(s) in evaluating patients with chronic hepatitis C whether to get IFN alpha in monotherapy or to consider having combination therapy in the form of IFN alpha-ribavirin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1092-1096
Number of pages5
JournalScandinavian journal of gastroenterology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • C5b-9
  • Chronic hepatitis C
  • Interferon alpha-2b
  • Interleukin-6
  • Short-term response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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