2011 Volume 50 Issue 22 Pages 2731-2736
Objective Platelet counts before starting the treatment affect the discontinuation and dose reduction of peginterferon in chronic hepatitis C. Thrombocytopenia leads to failure to achieve sustained virological response. This study was undertaken to evaluate the efficacy of partial splenic embolization (PSE) prior to starting peginterferon therapy combined with ribavirin in chronic hepatitis C patients showing thrombocytopenia.
Patients and Methods We compared the clinical features of 11 patients receiving PSE (PSE group) prior to starting the combined therapy with those of 13 patients not receiving PSE (non-PSE group). All of the patients showed platelet counts ≤12×104 /mm3 and serum hepatitis C virus-RNA levels ≥100 KIU/mL at baseline. The end-point of PSE was a volume of splenic infarction over 75%. Peginterferon alpha-2b at a dose of 1.2 μg/kg was administered by subcutaneous injection once a week. The dose of ribavirin was weight adjusted.
Results PSE was successfully performed without serious adverse events. The period from PSE to starting the combined therapy was 14 (6-27) days. After PSE, platelet counts were significantly increased. In PSE group, platelet counts during the combined therapy were maintained above those at baseline. In non-PSE group, platelet counts at the 2nd week after the start of the combined therapy significantly decreased to less than those at baseline. Overall, 80% adherence to expected peginterferon dose was not achieved in 5 patients (45%) of PSE group and in 11 (85%) of non-PSE group (p=0.043).
Conclusion Increased platelet counts after PSE facilitates the adherence to peginterferon therapy in chronic hepatitis C patients with thrombocytopenia.