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Open Access Research article

Efficacy of pegylated interferon α-2a and α-2b in patients with genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C: a meta-analysis

Nicola Coppola1, Mariantonietta Pisaturo1, Gilda Tonziello1, Caterina Sagnelli4, Evangelista Sagnelli13* and Italo F Angelillo2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Public Medicine, Section of Infectious Diseases, Second University of Naples, Naples, Italy

2 Department of Experimental Medicine, Section of Hygiene, Second University of Naples, Naples, Italy

3 Division of Infectious Diseases, Azienda Ospedaliera Sant’Anna e San Sebastiano di Caserta, Caserta, Italy

4 Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine and Surgery, “F. Magrassi e A. Lanzara” Second University of Naples, Naples, Italy

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2012, 12:357  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-357

Published: 18 December 2012



Two formulations of Pegylated interferon (Peg-IFN) are on the market for treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. The purpose of this meta-analysis was to assess the efficacy of Peg-IFN α-2a versus Peg-IFN α-2b in combination with ribavirin in anti-human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-negative patients with genotype 1 chronic HCV infection.


The following criteria were to be met for inclusion in the meta-analysis: (a) original data from randomized and non-randomized clinical trials; (b) study on the efficacy of conventional doses of Peg-IFN α-2a (180 μg/week) versus Peg-IFN α-2b (1.5 μg/kg of body weight/week), both in combination with ribavirin, in antiviral therapy-naïve HCV-genotype 1 subjects; (c) at least one of these primary outcomes: Rapid Virological Response (RVR); Early Complete Virological Response (EVR); End of Treatment Response (ETR); Sustained Virological Response (SVR); (d) odds ratio estimates of relative risk (RR) and associated 95% confidence intervals (CIs) or at least data enabling them to be computed; (e) English language; and (f) published as a full paper up to December 2011.


Seven published studies met the inclusion criteria, allowing a meta-analysis on 3,026 patients. Peg-IFN α-2a and Peg-IFN α-2b showed similar rate of RVR (RR = 1.05; 95% CI = 0.87-1.27, p = 0.62) and SVR (RR = 1.08; 95% CI = 0.99-1.18, p = 0.098). Peg-IFN α-2a more frequently than Peg-IFN α-2b achieved EVR (RR = 1.11; 95% CI = 1.02-1.21, p = 0.013) and ETR (RR = 1.22; 95% CI = 1.14-1.31, p < 0.0001).


The standard schedules of Peg-IFN α-2a and Peg-IFN α-2b, both in combination with ribavirin, can be used indifferently for patients with chronic HCV genotype 1 who are anti- to eliminate HIV-negative and antiviral treatment-naïve.

Antiviral therapy in HCV patients; Meta-analysis; Response to anti-HCV therapy; Tolerability of anti-HCV therapy