Objectives: To investigate early viral kinetics, sustained virological response (SVR) rates and their predictors, in treatment-naïve, genotype-4-infected, chronic hepatitis C (CHC) patients treated with PEG-IFNα2b plus ribavirin. Patients and Methods: In total, 58 patients were retrospectively analyzed. Early virological response (EVR) was defined as undetectable HCV-RNA (<50 IU/ml) at week 12 (complete, cEVR) or at least a 2 log decrease in HCV-RNA levels (partial, pEVR). Results: Thirty-one patients exhibited SVR (53.4%), 17 (29.3%) were non-responders and 10 (17.2%) relapsed. Thirty-seven patients (63.8%) exhibited EVR. The positive predictive values of EVR, cEVR and pEVR for the SVR achievement were 83.87, 54.83, and 29.03%, whereas their negative predictive values were 59.25, 77.77, and 81.48%, respectively. Both cEVR (OR 0.040, p = 0.042) and EVR (OR 0.016, p = 0.006) independently predicted SVR. Baseline viral load (p < 0.001), age (p = 0.035) and stage of liver disease (p = 0.04) were significantly related to the EVR achievement, whereas only baseline viral load (p = 0.003) and ethnicity (p = 0.025) predicted cEVR. Conclusions: Partial or complete EVR represent independent predictors of SVR in genotype-4-infected CHC patients, regardless of their baseline parameters. The absence of pEVR, rather than the absence of cEVR, should be used as an early indication for discontinuation of treatment in these patients.

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