Source Department of Gastroenterology, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510120, China.
OBJECTIVE: To review the development, mechanism, necessity and limitation of antiviral therapy in decompensated hepatitis B virus-related cirrhosis.
DATA SOURCES: Most information was pulled from a literature search (Pubmed 2000 to 2011) using the keywords of antiviral and decompensated hepatitis B virus-related cirrhosis. Relevant book chapters were also reviewed.
STUDY SELECTION: Well-controlled, prospective landmark studies and review articles on antiviral therapy in decompesated hepatitis B virus-related cirrhosis were selected.
RESULTS: Specific antiviral agents not only control viral replication, which permits liver transplantation, but also improve liver function so significantly that patients could be removed from the transplant waiting list. However, the emergence of drug-resistant mutants can result in treatment failure. Combination therapy is a save-strategy in drug-resistant.
CONCLUSIONS: Although the treatment of end-stage liver disease is still a challenge worldwide, antiviral therapy has altered the natural history of hepatitis B patients with decompensated cirrhosis. The approval of the new generation of antivirals is opening new perspectives for finding the optimal antiviral treatment for patients with decompensated cirrhosis and preventing antiviral resistance. A combination of antivirals may be one of the future strategies for fulfilling these goals.