Long-Term Effect of Interferon Therapy in Patients with HBeAg Positive Chronic Hepatitis B Infection
Several studies have reported that interferon therapy increases elimination rate of HBeAg and anti-HBe seroconversion in chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients. We aimed to evaluate long-term results of interferon-α treatment in HBeAg positive CHB patients in a country with exclusively D genotype.
Seventy-one naive CHB patients (M/F 61/10, mean age 29 ± 12 years, range 16–62) treated with 6 months of interferon-α 2b, 10 MU tiw and had a consequent untreated follow-up period of at least 10 years with positive response were identified and their data were reviewed. The therapy response was defined as HBeAg seroconversion with undetectable HBV-DNA. The responders were followed-up at 3–6-month intervals.
Twenty-eight (39%) patients achieved HBeAg seroconversion (25 within the therapy, 3 within the consequent 12 months off-treatment follow-up). The responders were followed-up with a mean period of 152 months (range 123–181). In the follow-up period, 21/25 (84%) initial responders relapsed. On the other hand, 3 patients who did not respond at the end of therapy sustained the response during follow-up. Hence 21/28 total responders relapsed (75%), either with HBeAg reversion (3, 14.3%) or HBV-DNA elevation over 2000 IU/ml (or its equivalent in other types of definitions) and ALT elevation (18, 85.7%). The sustained response was present in 7 patients (9.8%). Serious side effects precluding completion of treatment occurred in three patients (4.2%). In multivariate analysis none of the pre-treatment parameters appeared to be significant in predicting response.
Sustained response to interferon treatment is low in HBeAg positive CHB patients with genotype D.
KeywordsChronic hepatitis B Interferon HBeAg Therapy Genotype Sustained response
The authors would like to thank Kenneth Dorko from the University of Pittsburgh for his suggestions and critical review of the manuscript.
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