Response to interferon alpha therapy is influenced by the iron content of the liver.
Seventy-nine subjects (19 women and 60 men) with chronic viral hepatitis were studied to determine the role of hepatic iron and its biochemical correlates in determining response to interferon alpha therapy. Each subject was treated for 6 months with interferon alpha. A total of 45 (57%) subjects achieved either a full or partial response. No differences between responders and non-responders were evident for the type of hepatitis, age, initial alanine aminotransferase, serum iron, total iron binding capacity, %sat, or ferritin. In contrast, the hepatic iron content of non-responders was almost twice that of responders (1156 +/- 283 micrograms/g dry weight vs. 638 +/- 118; p < 0.05). Hepatic iron correlated with total iron binding capacity (r = 0.435) and ferritin (r = 0.585). This study showed that: 1) the hepatic iron content of responders is less than that of non-responders, 2) the relationships of hepatic iron with %sat and ferritin in patients with viral hepatitis are weak, and 3) hepatic iron content predicts a response to interferon therapy.
Van Thiel, DH; Friedlander, L; Fagiuoli, S; Wright, HI; Irish, W; Gavaler, JS
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