A Lead-In with Silibinin Prior to Triple-Therapy Translates into Favorable Treatment Outcomes in Difficult-To-Treat HIV/Hepatitis C Coinfected Patients.
PLoS One. 2015;10(7):e0133028. Epub 2015 Jul 15. PMID: 26176696
Dominique L Braun
BACKGROUND: The efficacy of first-generation protease inhibitor based triple-therapy against hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is limited in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients with advanced liver fibrosis and non-response to previous peginterferon-ribavirin. These patients have a low chance of achieving a sustained virologic response (SVR) using first generation triple-therapy, with a success rate of only 20%. We investigated the efficacy and safety of lead-in therapy with intravenous silibinin followed by triple-therapy in this difficult-to-treat patient group.
METHODOLOGY: Inclusion criteria were HIV/HCV coinfection with advanced liver fibrosis and documented previous treatment failure on peginterferon-ribavirin. The intervention was a lead-in therapy with intravenous silibinin 20 mg/kg/day for 14 days, followed by triple-therapy (peginterferon-ribavirin and telaprevir) for 12 weeks, and peginterferon-ribavirin alone for 36 weeks. Outcome measurements were HCV-RNA after silibinin lead-in and during triple-therapy, SVR data at week 12, and safety and tolerability of silibinin.
RESULTS: We examined sixteen HIV/HCV-coinfected patients with previous peginterferon-ribavirin failure, of whom 14 had a fibrosis grade METAVIR≥F3. All were on successful antiretroviral therapy. Median (IQR) HCV-RNA decline after silibinin therapy was 2.65 (2.1-2.8) log10 copies/mL. Fifteen of sixteen patients (94%) had undetectable HCV RNA at weeks 4 and 12, eleven patients (69%) showed end-of-treatment response (i.e., undetectable HCV-RNA at week 48), and ten patients (63%) reached SVR at week 12 (SVR 12). Six of the sixteen patients (37%) did not reach SVR 12: One patient had rapid virologic response (RVR) (i.e., undetectable HCV-RNA at week 4) but stopped treatment at week 8 due to major depression. Five patients had RVR, but experienced viral breakthroughs at week 21, 22, 25, or 32, or a relapse at week 52. The HIV RNA remained below the limit of detection in all patients during the complete treatment period. No serious adverse events and no significant drug-drug interactions were associated with silibinin.
CONCLUSION: A lead-in with silibinin before triple-therapy was safe and highly effective in difficult-to-treat HIV/HCV coinfected patients, with a pronounced HCV-RNA decline during the lead-in phase, which translates into 63% SVR. An add-on of intravenous silibinin to standard of care HCV treatment is worth further exploration in selected difficult-to-treat patients.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01816490.