Danoprevir is a potent and selective direct-acting antiviral agent that targets the protease activity of hepatitis C virus (HCV) NS3/4A. This agent results in a significant rapid decline in HCV RNA levels when it is used in monotherapy. The present study evaluated whether plasma concentrations of the inflammatory markers gamma interferon-inducible protein 10 (IP-10) and neopterin or the interferon-stimulated gene product 2′-5′-oligoadenylate synthetase (OAS-1) were correlated with the plasma HCV RNA concentration before or during 14-day danoprevir monotherapy. In contrast to pegylated interferon and ribavirin treatment, a higher baseline IP-10 concentration was positively correlated with a greater first-phase HCV RNA decline upon danoprevir administration. Changes in the IP-10 plasma concentration during danoprevir administration were also associated with categorical changes in HCV RNA concentration at days 7 and 14. The neopterin concentration appeared to be moderately decreased during danoprevir administration, although these changes were not statistically significant. However, changes in neopterin concentration showed a statistically significant correlation with changes in IP-10 concentration. Considerable variation in the OAS-1 concentration was observed before and during treatment, including in patients treated with placebo and/or patients with minimal virologic response. Overall, these results suggest that effective treatment with a direct-acting antiviral agent may reduce hepatic inflammation and that first-phase HCV RNA decline during treatment with an NS3/4A protease inhibitor is more robust in patients with high baseline IP-10 concentrations
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