Background: Egypt has one of the highest prevalences of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection worldwide. Although the IL28B gene polymorphism has been shown to modify the course of chronic HCV infection, this has not been properly assessed in the Egyptian population. Materials and
Methods: The IL28B rs12979860 singlenucleotide polymorphism (SNP) was therefore examined in 256 HCV-infected Egyptian patients (group II) at different stages of disease progression and in 48 healthy volunteers (group I). Group II was subdivided into GII-A (chronic hepatitis patients, n=119), GII-B (post hepatitis cirrhosis, n=66) and GII-C (HCC on top of cirrhosis, n=71).
Results: The C/T genotype was the commonest in all groups. It was more frequent in GI (52%) than in GII (48%). There was no significant difference in the frequency of C/T and C/C or T/T genotypes between groupsand subgroups (p=0.82). Within the subgroups; the C/C genotype was more common in GII-B while C/T and T/T genotypes were more common in GII-C, though with no significant difference (p=0.59 and p=0.80). There was no significant association between IL28B rs12979860 SNP and viral load, ALT, AFP level, METAVIR scores for necro-inflammation and fibrosis, and Child-Pugh classification.
Conclusions: 1) IL28Brs12979860 C/T genotype is the commonest genotype in HCV-associated CH and HCC in Egypt. 2) IL28Brs12979860 polymorphisms are not associated with disease progression or aggression (histological staging, severity of fibrosis in CH or the incidence of post-HCV HCC). 3) Differences in IL28Brs12979860 genotypes could be a consequence of environmental or ethnic variation.