Systemic levels of interferon-gamma-inducible protein-10 (IP-10) are predictive of treatment-induced clearance in chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV). In the present study, factors associated with plasma IP-10 levels at the time of acute HCV detection and the association between IP-10 levels and spontaneous clearance were assessed in three cohorts of acute HCV infection. Among 299 individuals, 245 (181 male, 47 human immunodeficiency virus-positive [HIV+]) were HCV RNA+ at acute HCV detection. In adjusted analysis, factors independently associated with IP-10 levels ≥150 pg/mL (median level) included HCV RNA levels >6 log IU/mL, HIV coinfection and non-Aboriginal ethnicity. Among 245 HCV RNA+ at acute HCV detection, 214 were untreated (n = 137) or had persistent infection (infection duration ≥26 weeks) at treatment initiation (n = 77). Spontaneous clearance occurred in 14% (29 of 214). Individuals without spontaneous clearance had significantly higher mean plasma IP-10 levels at the time of acute HCV detection than those with clearance (248 ± 32 versus 142 ± 22 pg/mL, P = 0.008). The proportion of individuals with spontaneous clearance was 0% (0 of 22, P = 0.048) and 16% (27 of 165) and in those with and without plasma IP-10 levels ≥380 pg/mL. In adjusted analyses, favorable IL28B genotype was associated with spontaneous clearance, while higher HCV RNA level was independently associated with lower odds of spontaneous clearance.
High IP-10 levels at acute HCV detection were associated with failure to spontaneously clear HCV. Patients with acute HCV and high baseline IP-10 levels, particularly >380 pg/mL, should be considered for early therapeutic intervention, and those with low levels should defer therapy for potential spontaneous clearance. (HEPATOLOGY 2013;).