Source Department of Gastroenterology, Ankara University Faculty of Medicine Hepatology Institute, Ankara UniversityDepartments of Internal Medicine Biostatistics, Ankara University Faculty of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey.
The aims of this study were to assess hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) seroconversion and to determine its impact on the natural course of the disease in patients with HBeAg-negative chronic hepatitis B (CHB) during lamivudine (LMV) treatment.
A total of 183 consecutive patients with HBeAg-negative CHB who were treated with LMV were included in the study. Data were retrospectively collected from outpatient visit charts. The primary endpoint was HBsAg seroconversion to anti-HBs. The secondary endpoint was to determine the development of cirrhosis.
Loss of HBsAg was confirmed in 10 patients and seroconversion to anti-HBs in nine patients during LMV treatment or after its discontinuation. HBsAg seroconversion was achieved on-treatment in four patients after a median treatment duration of 30 months and off-treatment in the remaining five patients in a median 61 months after LMV discontinuation. The cumulative probability of HBsAg seroconversion increased from 0.6% at 1 year and 1.9% at 5 years to 21.5% at 10 years of LMV during and after LMV treatment. HBsAg clearance was preceded by undetectable serum hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA.
The majority of the patients responding to treatment had undetectable HBV DNA levels at 24 weeks of treatment. The cumulative probability of LMV resistance increased from 2.2% at 1 year to 37.3% at 5 years. No baseline parameter predicting either HBsAg seroconversion or the emergence of LMV resistance was identified. None of the patients with HBsAg seroconversion experienced virological breakthrough or disease progression during the follow-up period. These results indicate that HBsAg seroclearance can occur in patients with HBeAg-negative CHB under LMV therapy and predicts better clinical outcome.