Toru Takahashi, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Uonuma Hospital, Ojiyashi, Niigata 947-0028, Japan.
Interleukin (IL) 28B genetic polymorphism is significantly associated with the sustained virological response rate in patients with chronic hepatitis C treated with pegylated interferon-α (PEG-IFN) plus ribavirin and with spontaneous hepatitis C virus clearance. However, a consensus on the relationship between IL28B genetic polymorphism and the favorable outcome of chronic hepatitis B virus infection defined by hepatitis B e antigen seroconversion, and/or hepatitis B surface antigen seroclearance in patients treated with interferon or PEG-IFN has not been reached. Several reports failed to show a positive association, while some studies demonstrated a positive association in certain subject settings. More prospective studies including large cohorts are needed to determine the possible association between IL28B genetic polymorphism and the outcome of interferon or PEG-IFN treatment for chronic hepatitis B.