Unit of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medical Sciences, University of Turin, Amedeo di Savoia Hospital, Turin, Italy.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS:
In patients affected by chronic hepatitis because of HBV infection, long-term suppressive therapy with nucleos(t)ides analogues in the HBeAg- patients has shown low effects on HBsAg titre (qHBsAg) decrease, and HBsAg loss is difficult to achieve. Thus, in this type of patients the main goals of antiviral therapy is the suppression of HBV-DNA and ALT normalization.
We retrospectively evaluated different qHBsAg kinetics in 134 treatment-naïve patients having the same characteristics: HBeAg-, infection sustained by HBV genotype D and persistently undetectable HBV-DNA. Patients were treated with NAs therapy (lamivudine, adefovir, telbivudine, entecavir and tenofovir) for at least 2 years. qHBsAg was performed every 6 months.
Our results showed a significantly greater qHBsAg decline after 2 years in patients treated with tenofovir (0.45 logIU/ml) than in patients treated with telbivudine (0.12 logIU/ml; P < 0.001). The calculated expected time to HBsAg loss was shorter in the tenofovir group than in the telbivudine group (nearly 17 vs 63 years, P < 0.001).
HBeAg negative patients infected by HBV genotype D should be treated with more potent NAs such as entecavir or tenofovir to obtain a significant qHBsAg decrease, but the achievement of HBsAg loss seems to require almost two decades of therapy.