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World J Gastroenterol. Jul 7, 2012; 18(25): 3196-3200
Published online Jul 7, 2012. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v18.i25.3196
Can zinc enhance response interferon therapy for patients with HCV-related liver disease?
Toru Ishikawa
Toru Ishikawa, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Saiseikai Niigata Daini Hospital, Niigata 950-1104, Japan
Author contributions: Ishikawa T contributed solely to this review.
Correspondence to: Toru Ishikawa, MD, PhD, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Saiseikai Niigata Daini Hospital, 280-7 Teraji, Niigata 950-1104, Japan.
Telephone: +81-25-2336161 Fax: +81-25-2338880
Received: August 17, 2011
Revised: September 24, 2011
Accepted: October 11, 2011
Published online: July 7, 2012

Patients with liver disease may be at risk of zinc depletion. Zinc supplementation has been shown to contribute to inhibition of liver fibrosis and improvement in hepatic encephalopathy. However, little is known about the anti-inflammatory effect of zinc on hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related chronic liver disease. The standard of care for chronic HCV has improved markedly since the approval of interferon (IFN) therapy more than a decade ago. Over the past 20 years, IFN therapy has improved to more effectively eliminate the virus, progressing from single IFN therapy to combination therapy with ribavirin (RBV) and finally to pegylated IFN (PEG-IFN) therapy. However, even combined therapy with PEG-IFN and RBV for 48 wk is unable to eliminate the virus in some 40% of hepatitis C cases, particularly those with genotype 1b and high viral load. Treatment options for patients who have relapsed or are refractory to treatment with PEG-IFN and RBV therefore need to be critically assessed. This paper overviews the relationship between chronic liver disease and zinc metabolism.

Keywords: Chronic hepatitis C, Zinc, Interferon therapy