Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Hepatitis C virus core antigen, an earlier and stronger predictor on sustained virological response in patients with genotype 1 HCV infection

Bo Feng1, Rui-Feng Yang1, Qing Xie2, Jia Shang3, Fan-Yun Kong1, Hai-Ying Zhang1, Hui-Ying Rao1, Qian Jin1, Xu Cong1, Yun-Ye Liu2, Yi Kang3 and Lai Wei1*

Author Affiliations

1 Peking University People’s Hospital, Peking University Hepatology Institute, Beijing Key Laboratory of Hepatitis C and Immunotherapy for Liver Diseases, Beijing, PR China

2 Department of Infectious Diseases, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, PR China

3 Department of Infectious Diseases, Henan Provincial People’s Hospital, Zhengzhou, PR China

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BMC Gastroenterology 2014, 14:47  doi:10.1186/1471-230X-14-47

Published: 13 March 2014



Earlier kinetics of serum HCV core antigen (HCVcAg) and its predictive value on sustained virological response (SVR) were investigated in patients with genotype 1 HCV infection during antiviral treatment.


In a multi-centered, randomized and positive drug-controlled phase IIb clinical trial on type Y peginterferon α-2b ( NCT01140997), forty-eight CHC patients who participated in pharmacokinetics were randomly divided into 4 cohorts and treated with PegIFNα (type Y peginterferon α-2b 90 μg, 135 μg, 180 μg and PegIFNα-2a 180 μg, respectively, once a week) and ribavirin (< 75 kg, 1000 mg daily and ≥ 75 kg, 1200 mg daily) for 48 weeks, and then followed up for 24 weeks. 32 patients infected with genotype 1 HCV and completed the whole process were included in this study. HCV RNAs were detected at baseline, and weeks 4, 12, 24, 48 and 72 using Cobas TaqMan. ARCHITECT HCVcAg was performed at 24, 48, 72, 96, 120 and 144 h in addition to the above time points. The receiver operating curves (ROCs) were performed to study the predictive values of HCVcAg decline on SVR.


Following antiviral treatment, serum HCVcAg levels rapidly declined within the first week and correlated well with corresponding HCV RNA at baseline, weeks 4, 12, 24, 48 and 72 (rs = 0.969, 0.928, 0.999, 0.983, 0.985 and 0.946, respectively, P < 0.001). All of the areas under the receiver operating curves (AUROCs) were more than 0.80 and showed good predictive power on SVR at 24, 48, 72, 96, 120 and 144 h. The144 h was the best predictive time point of HCVcAg decline on SVR because of its largest AUROC (more than 0.90).


Early kinetics of serum HCVcAg predicts SVR very well in genotype 1 CHC patients during antiviral treatment, and its reduction value at 144 h is an earlier and stronger predictor on SVR than rapid virological response and early virological response. (TRN: NCT01140997).

Hepatitis C; HCV core antigen; Antiviral treatment; Interferon-α