John recently published a first-author report in Autoimmunity Highlights titled “Anti-rods/rings autoantibody seropositivity does not affect response to telaprevir treatment for chronic hepatitis C infection.” This work was done in collaboration with Dr. Nicola Bizzaro from the Ospedale San Antonio in Tolmezzo, Italy, and his team from other clinics in Trento, Siena, Treviso, and Genova. Dr. Minoru Satoh from the University of Occupational and Environmental Health in Kitakyushu, Japan and our undergraduate student Thuy Nguyen also contributed to the study.
You can find this paper on PubMed at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27844412. The abstract is copied below.
PURPOSE: Autoantibodies to intracellular ‘rods and rings’ structures (anti-rods/rings or anti-RR) are strongly associated with hepatitis C (HCV) patients treated with interferon-α/ribavirin (IFN/RBV) and are linked with non-responsiveness to IFN/RBV or relapse, especially in Italian patients. This is the first study to determine whether there is any correlation of anti-RR with non-responsiveness to IFN/RBV treatment in patients also treated with telaprevir (TPV), one of several new therapies for chronic HCV recently implemented.
METHODS: From 2013 to 2014, 52 HCV-infected patients were treated with IFN/RBV and TPV at five Italian clinics. Patient sera were collected and analyzed by indirect immunofluorescence for the presence of anti-RR antibodies. Patients were classified as anti-RR positive or anti-RR negative, and then various biological and clinical variables were analyzed to compare the two groups, including gender, age, HCV genotype, previous IFN/RBV treatment, and IFN/RBV/TPV treatment outcome.
RESULTS: Of these 52 HCV patients treated with IFN/RBV/TPV, 10/32 (31%) who previously received IFN/RBV were anti-RR positive, compared to 0 of 20 treatment-naïve patients. Anti-RR-positive patients relapsed more than anti-RR-negative patients (3/10, 30% vs. 2/42, 5%; p < 0.05). However, zero anti-RR-positive patients were non-responsive, and frequencies of sustained virological response were similar (anti-RR positive: 7/10, 70% vs. anti-RR negative: 33/42, 79%).
CONCLUSIONS: Overall, the data suggest that anti-RR seropositivity is not associated with resistance to TPV treatment in this patient cohort, but monitoring anti-RR-positive patients for relapse within the first 6 months after treatment may be useful.