BACKGROUND/AIMS: Pegylated interferon (peginterferon) and ribavirin combination therapy is less effective and associated with a higher frequency of serious complications in chronic hepatitis C patients with cirrhosis than in noncirrhotic patients. This study evaluated the efficacy and tolerability of peginterferon and ribavirin treatment in patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related cirrhosis. METHODS: Eighty-six patients with clinically diagnosed liver cirrhosis were treated with either peginterferon alpha-2a (n=51) or peginterferon alpha-2b (n=35) plus ribavirin. The sustained virologic response (SVR) and adverse effects were analyzed retrospectively. RESULTS: Of the 86 patients (55 males), 48 patients (55.8%) had HCV genotype 1 infection and 38 (44.2%) had genotype non-1 infection. The overall SVR rate was 34.9% (30/86), and the rates of SVR in the genotype 1 and non-1 patients were 20.8% (10/48) and 52.6% (20/38), respectively. The multivariate analysis revealed that having HCV genotype 1 (P=0.003) and high baseline viral load (>8.0x10(5) IU/mL, P=0.012) were the independent predictive factors for SVR failure. In 20.9% (18/86) of the patients, treatment was not completed due to adverse events (27.8%), loss to follow-up (50.0%), and other reasons (22.2%). CONCLUSIONS: Peginterferon and ribavirin combination therapy was relatively effective and feasible for clinically diagnosed HCV patients, especially in those with genotype non-1 infection and low baseline viral load.