1Fundación de Investigación, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
2Institut für Interdisziplinäre Medizin, Hamburg, Germany.
3Auckland Clinical Studies, Ltd, Auckland, New Zealand.
4Service d'Hépatologie, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France.
5Texas Liver Institute, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, Texas.
6Merck Sharp and Dohme, Whitehouse Station, New Jersey.
7Merck Sharp and Dohme, Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
BACKGROUND & AIMS:
The combination of vaniprevir (a NS3/4A protease inhibitor) with peginterferon and ribavirin was shown to increase rates of sustained virologic response (SVR) significantly, compared with peginterferon and ribavirin alone, in treatment-experienced patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1 infection without cirrhosis. We performed a blinded, randomized, controlled trial of the effects of vaniprevir with peginterferon and ribavirin in patients with cirrhosis who did not respond to prior therapy with peginterferon and ribavirin.
Treatment-experienced patients (88% white and 35% prior null responders) with HCV genotype 1 infection and compensated cirrhosis were assigned randomly to groups given vaniprevir (600 mg twice daily) with peginterferon and ribavirin for 24 weeks (n = 16), vaniprevir (600 mg twice daily) for 24 weeks with peginterferon and ribavirin for 48 weeks (n = 14), vaniprevir (300 mg twice daily) with peginterferon and ribavirin for 48 weeks (n = 15), vaniprevir (600 mg twice daily) with peginterferon and ribavirin for 48 weeks (n = 15), or placebo with peginterferon and ribavirin for 48 weeks (n = 14, control). Cirrhosis was documented by liver biopsy (84%) or noninvasive methods (16%). Before randomization, participants were stratified based on their historical response to peginterferon and ribavirin.
In the primary analysis, SVR rates among patients in the respective vaniprevir groups were 9 of 15 (60.0%), 9 of 13 (69.2%), 8 of 15 (53.3%), and 10 of 13 (76.9%), compared with 2 of 14 (14.3%) in the control group (pairwise P values ≤ .016). Cirrhotic patients with null or partial responses to prior therapy achieved SVR less often than patients with prior breakthrough or relapse, although 42.1% of prior null responders in the vaniprevir groups achieved SVRs. Patients in the vaniprevir groups more frequently experienced mild-moderate nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea than controls; 5% developed grade 2 anemia compared with none in the control group (no patient developed grade 3 or 4 anemia). Among patients in the vaniprevir groups who experienced virologic failure, resistance-associated variants were detected predominantly at positions 155, 156, and 168 in the HCV protease gene.
In a controlled phase 2b trial, vaniprevir with peginterferon and ribavirin significantly increased rates of SVR among treatment-experienced patients with chronic HCV genotype 1 infection, compared with re-treatment with peginterferon and ribavirin alone. Vaniprevir generally was well tolerated for up to 48 weeks in patients with compensated cirrhosis. ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00704405.