Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 20872707
J. Med. Virol. 2010 Nov;82(11):1819-28
This study aimed to evaluate the safety of antiretroviral treatment interruption (TI) in HIV-infected patients who started treatment based on earlier guidelines, and to identify baseline factors predictive of the time to reach fixed criteria for treatment resumption. Prospective, open-label, multicenter trial. Patients were eligible if they had a CD4 cell count >350/mm(3) and plasma HIV RNA 450/mm(3) and stable plasma HIV RNA <5,000 copies/ml for at least 6 months prior to enrollment. The criteria for ART resumption were a CD4 cell count <300/mm(3) and/or a CDC stage B or C event. 116 patients had received ART for a median of 5.3 years. The median CD4 cell count and plasma HIV RNA values at inclusion were 809/mm(3) and 2.6 log copies/ml, respectively. Median HIV DNA load at inclusion was 2.3 log copies/10(6) peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Thirty-six months after TI, 63.9% of the patients had not yet reached the criteria for ART resumption, and 55.9% of patients had not resumed ART. In Cox multivariable analysis, a high HIV DNA level at TI, a low CD4 nadir, and pre-existing AIDS status were the only significant risk factors for reaching the criteria for ART resumption (hazards ratio: 2.15 (1.02-4.53), 4.59 (1.22-17.24), and 5.74 (1.60-20.56), respectively). Patients who started ART with a CD4 cell count above 350/mm(3) were able to interrupt treatment for long periods without a high absolute risk of either AIDS or severe non-AIDS morbidity/mortality. A high PBMC HIV DNA level at TI was a strong predictor for more rapid treatment resumption.