Hepatitis C virus core antigen testing: role in diagnosis, disease monitoring and treatment.
While hepatitis B virus (HBV) screening relies on hepatitis B surface antigen to confirm HBV infection since the early days of hepatitis B disease management, hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection screening is based on anti-HCV testing which does not discriminate active from past infection. Thus to confirm infection HCV RNA testing has been required; recently a HCV core antigen assay became widely commercially available which could serve to confirm infection. That assay is less sensitive than current HCV RNA assays, but as more than 50% of anti-HCV positive persons will be HCV core antigen positive, HCV core antigen testing can be a cost effective and reflex test to confirm HCV infection in anti-HCV positive individuals and will be easier as it can be applied on the same platform. For treatment monitoring, more data need to be generated, but the early data available at present suggest that HCV core antigen may be an alternative to HCV RNA monitoring. With direct antivirals, HCV core antigen could even be superior to HCV RNA testing, as direct antivirals might already prevent virus formation when HCV core antigen is still produced and thereby correlates better with eventual viral clearance.
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
Pubmed Central ID
Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)