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ICAAC 2007: Chicago, Illinois; September 17-20, 2007

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The Body Covers: The 47th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
ICAAC 2007 Study Summaries: Juan Berenguer, M.D.

September 19, 2007

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Welcome. This is Erika Nelson reporting for The Body PRO. I'm in Chicago at ICAAC 2007, one of the year's major HIV conferences. Right now, I'm in the poster session where researchers are standing in front of their posters, discussing their research and answering questions. We'll hear directly from investigators in the forefront of HIV treatment, care and prevention. In this podcast, the researchers will introduce themselves and then summarize their study. I'll then ask a few questions.

My name is Juan Berenguer. I am an M.D. I work in infectious diseases at the Hospital Gregorio Marañón in Madrid, Spain. And I am the principal investigator in this study1 that is a collaborate study from GESIDA.

Can you walk me through your presentation?

Of course. Some years ago, in our group, we set up a cohort study in order to assess the impact of achieving a sustained virologic response or not in the natural history of chronic hepatitis C. So we were a step forward from clinical trials, just to see what this represents to patients.

Between 2000 and 2005 we gathered a huge number, actually the exact number is 712 patients who were treated with any combination of interferon plus ribavirin [brand name: Copegus, Rebetol]. This gave us the opportunity, and this is an online application, in which all the information is collected. We have some quality controls, and we have an active follow up of patients for years.

One of the secondary objectives of our study was to assess the efficacy and safety of different interferon/ribavirin strategies. So we had the opportunity to compare, head to head, in a retrospective fashion, peg-2b [generic name: peginterferon alfa-2b; brand name: PEG-Intron] versus peg-2a [generic name: peginterferon alfa-2a; brand name: Pegasys] plus ribavirin in a large cohort of patients: 242 in peg-2b, and 315 in peg-2a.

What we saw is that baseline characteristics were not different between the groups, except for a higher frequency of fibrosis 0 in patients with peg-2b, but also a higher frequency of -- well, minor difference -- between the liver virus [genotype]. A minor difference.

What we saw is that sustained viral response, either in intention-to-treat or in-treatment analysis, went the same in both groups of therapy. So the main findings were that.

Also, assessing for safety, we saw that there was no different interruptions in the treatment between the two arms, and also that adverse events were similar. So we conclude that no significant differences were found in efficacy, safety, between these two drug molecules.

What are the clinical implications of this finding?

The clinical implications of this finding are that there are some differences in the pharmacokinetics between the two pegylated interferons, but we did not know till now how these differences relate to achieving a sustained response. Our data suggests that at least in this retrospective large cohort study with well-matched patients, there were no differences in the outcome.

Well, thank you very much.


  1. Berenguer J, González J, López Aldeguer J, et al. Peginterferon alfa-2a plus ribavirin vs peginterferon alfa-2b plus ribavirin for chronic hepatitis C virus infection in HIV-infected patients. In: Program and abstracts of the 47th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy; September 17-20, 2007; Chicago, Ill. Abstract V-1897.
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    View slides: Download PowerPoint

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Please note: Knowledge about HIV changes rapidly. Note the date of this summary's publication, and before treating patients or employing any therapies described in these materials, verify all information independently. If you are a patient, please consult a doctor or other medical professional before acting on any of the information presented in this summary. For a complete listing of our most recent conference coverage, click here.