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A Lead-In with Silibinin Prior to Triple-Therapy Translates into Favorable Treatment Outcomes in Difficult-To-Treat HIV/Hepatitis C Coinfected Patients.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Braun Dominique L, Rauch Andri, Aouri Manel, Durisch Nina, Eberhard Nadia, Anagnostopoulos Alexia, Ledergerber Bruno, Müllhaupt Beat, Metzner Karin J, Decosterd Laurent, Böni Jürg, Weber Rainer, Fehr Jan,
Project Swiss HIV Cohort Study (SHCS)
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal PloS one
Volume (Issue) 10(7)
Page(s) 0133028 - 0133028
Title of proceedings PloS one
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0133028

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


The efficacy of first-generation protease inhibitor based triple-therapy against hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is limited in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients with advanced liver fibrosis and non-response to previous peginterferon-ribavirin. These patients have a low chance of achieving a sustained virologic response (SVR) using first generation triple-therapy, with a success rate of only 20%. We investigated the efficacy and safety of lead-in therapy with intravenous silibinin followed by triple-therapy in this difficult-to-treat patient group. Inclusion criteria were HIV/HCV coinfection with advanced liver fibrosis and documented previous treatment failure on peginterferon-ribavirin. The intervention was a lead-in therapy with intravenous silibinin 20 mg/kg/day for 14 days, followed by triple-therapy (peginterferon-ribavirin and telaprevir) for 12 weeks, and peginterferon-ribavirin alone for 36 weeks. Outcome measurements were HCV-RNA after silibinin lead-in and during triple-therapy, SVR data at week 12, and safety and tolerability of silibinin. We examined sixteen HIV/HCV-coinfected patients with previous peginterferon-ribavirin failure, of whom 14 had a fibrosis grade METAVIR ≥F3. All were on successful antiretroviral therapy. Median (IQR) HCV-RNA decline after silibinin therapy was 2.65 (2.1-2.8) log10 copies/mL. Fifteen of sixteen patients (94%) had undetectable HCV RNA at weeks 4 and 12, eleven patients (69%) showed end-of-treatment response (i.e., undetectable HCV-RNA at week 48), and ten patients (63%) reached SVR at week 12 (SVR 12). Six of the sixteen patients (37%) did not reach SVR 12: One patient had rapid virologic response (RVR) (i.e., undetectable HCV-RNA at week 4) but stopped treatment at week 8 due to major depression. Five patients had RVR, but experienced viral breakthroughs at week 21, 22, 25, or 32, or a relapse at week 52. The HIV RNA remained below the limit of detection in all patients during the complete treatment period. No serious adverse events and no significant drug-drug interactions were associated with silibinin. A lead-in with silibinin before triple-therapy was safe and highly effective in difficult-to-treat HIV/HCV coinfected patients, with a pronounced HCV-RNA decline during the lead-in phase, which translates into 63% SVR. An add-on of intravenous silibinin to standard of care HCV treatment is worth further exploration in selected difficult-to-treat patients. NCT01816490.