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Variable short duration treatment versus standard treatment, with and without adjunctive ribavirin, for chronic hepatitis C: the STOP-HCV-1 non-inferiority, factorial RCT

Cooke, GS; Pett, SL; McCabe, L; Jones, C; Gilson, R; Verma, S; Ryder, SD; ... Walker, A; + view all (2021) Variable short duration treatment versus standard treatment, with and without adjunctive ribavirin, for chronic hepatitis C: the STOP-HCV-1 non-inferiority, factorial RCT. Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation , 8 (17) 10.3310/eme08170. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: High cure rates with licensed durations of therapy for chronic hepatitis C virus suggest that many patients are overtreated. New strategies in individuals who find it challenging to adhere to standard treatment courses could significantly contribute to the elimination agenda. Objectives: To compare cure rates using variable ultrashort first-line treatment stratified by baseline viral load followed by retreatment, with a fixed 8-week first-line treatment with retreatment with or without adjunctive ribavirin. Design: An open-label, multicentre, factorial randomised controlled trial. Randomisation: Randomisation was computer generated, with patients allocated in a 1 : 1 ratio using a factorial design to each of biomarker-stratified variable ultrashort strategy or fixed duration and adjunctive ribavirin (or not), using a minimisation algorithm with a probabilistic element. Setting: NHS. Participants: A total of 202 adults (aged ≥ 18 years) infected with chronic hepatitis C virus genotype 1a/1b or 4 for ≥ 6 months, with a detectable plasma hepatitis C viral load and no significant fibrosis [FibroScan® (Echosens, Paris, France) score F0–F1 or biopsy-proven minimal fibrosis], a hepatitis C virus viral load < 10,000,000 IU/ml, no previous exposure to direct-acting antiviral therapy for this infection and not pregnant. Patients co-infected with human immunodeficiency virus were eligible if human immunodeficiency virus viral load had been < 50 copies/ml for > 24 weeks on anti-human immunodeficiency virus drugs. Interventions: Fixed-duration 8-week first-line therapy compared with variable ultrashort first-line therapy, initially for 4–6 weeks (continuous scale) stratified by screening viral load (variable ultrashort strategy 1, mean 32 days of treatment) and then, subsequently, for 4–7 weeks (variable ultrashort strategy 2 mean 39 days of duration), predominantly with ombitasvir, paritaprevir, ritonavir (Viekirax®; AbbVie, Chicago, IL, USA), and dasabuvir (Exviera®; AbbVie, Chicago, IL, USA) or ritonavir. All patients in whom first-line treatment was unsuccessful were immediately retreated with 12 weeks’ sofosbuvir, ledipasvir (Harvoni®, Gilead Sciences, Inc., Foster City, CA, USA) and ribavirin. Main outcome measure: The primary outcome was overall sustained virological response (persistently undetectable) 12 weeks after the end of therapy (SVR12). Results: A total of 202 patients were analysed. All patients in whom the primary outcome was evaluable achieved SVR12 overall [100% (197/197), 95% confidence interval 86% to 100%], demonstrating non-inferiority between fixed- and variable-duration strategies (difference 0%, 95% confidence interval –3.8% to 3.7%, prespecified non-inferiority margin 4%). A SVR12 following first-line treatment was achieved in 91% (92/101; 95% confidence interval 86% to 97%) of participants randomised to the fixed-duration strategy and by 48% (47/98; 95% confidence interval 39% to 57%) allocated to the variable-duration strategy. However, the proportion achieving SVR12 was significantly higher among those allocated to variable ultrashort strategy 2 [72% (23/32), 95% confidence interval 56% to 87%] than among those allocated to variable ultrashort strategy 1 [36% (24/66), 95% confidence interval 25% to 48%]. Overall, a SVR12 following first-line treatment was achieved by 72% (70/101) (95% confidence interval 65% to 78%) of patients treated with ribavirin and by 68% (69/98) (95% confidence interval 61% to 76%) of those not treated with ribavirin. A SVR12 with variable ultrashort strategies 1 and 2 was 52% (25/48) (95% confidence interval 38% to 65%) with ribavirin, compared with 44% (22/50) (95% confidence interval 31% to 56) without. However, at treatment failure, the emergence of viral resistance was lower with ribavirin [12% (3/26), 95% confidence interval 2% to 30%] than without [38% (11/29), 95% confidence interval 21% to 58%; p = 0.01]. All 10 individuals who became undetectable at day 3 of treatment achieved first-line SVR12 regardless of treatment duration. Five participants in the variable-duration arm and five in the fixed-duration arm experienced serious adverse events (p = 0.69), as did five participants receiving ribavirin and five participants receiving no ribavirin. Conclusions: SVR12 rates were significantly higher when ultrashort treatment varied between 4 and 7 weeks, rather than between 4 and 6 weeks. We found no evidence of ribavirin significantly affecting first-line SVR12, with unsuccessful first-line short-course therapy also not compromising subsequent retreatment with sofosbuvir, ledipasvir and ribavirin.

Type: Article
Title: Variable short duration treatment versus standard treatment, with and without adjunctive ribavirin, for chronic hepatitis C: the STOP-HCV-1 non-inferiority, factorial RCT
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3310/eme08170
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3310/eme08170
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2021 Cooke et al. This work was produced by Cooke et al. under the terms of a commissioning contract issued by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. This is an Open Access publication distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 4.0 licence, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaption in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Infection and Immunity
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology > MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health > Infection and Population Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10137476
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