Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, 27710, USA.
It is estimated that there are 350-400 million individuals with chronic hepatitis B virus infection (HBV) worldwide. The natural course of HBV infection is variable with a number of individuals developing no or only mild disease, while others will die from liver-associated complications if left untreated. It is estimated that 25 % of individuals with HBV infection will eventually die from the complications of HBV-associated liver disease. Several viral and host variables including hepatitis B e antigen status, HBV genotype, viral load, hepatitis B surface antigen and transaminase levels, and viral mutations have been identified as determinants of disease outcomes. The personalized approach to the treatment of chronic hepatitis B might include mere monitoring of the disease in some patients but aggressive treatment in others. Individuals who require treatment should have close monitoring to help ensure maximum medication compliance, to watch for adverse events, and to monitor virologic and biochemical responses. Therefore, management of patients with chronic HBV infection requires a practical setting to demonstrate the relevance of personalized medicine, the roles and limitations of genetic and non-genetic factors, and the risks and benefits of individualized patient care. This article provides an overview of the viral and host genetics of chronic HBV and reviews the clinical utility of serum quantitative hepatitis B surface antigen in the management of patients with chronic HBV infection.