Etsuro Orito, Kei Fujiwara, Hiroshi Kanie, Tesshin Ban, Tomonori Yamada, Katsumi Hayashi, Department of Gastroenterology, Nagoya Daini Red Cross Hospital, Nagoya 466-8650, Japan.
To analysis the factors that predict the response to entecavir therapy in chronic hepatitis patients with hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotype C.
Fifty patients [hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-negative:HBeAg-positive = 26:24] with HBV genotype C, who received naïve entecavir therapy for > 2 years, were analyzed. Patients who showed HBV DNA levels ≥ 3.0 log viral copies/mL after 2 years of entecavir therapy were designated as slow-responders, while those that showed < 3.0 log copies/mL were termed rapid-responders. Quantitative hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) levels (qHBsAg) were determined by the Architect HBsAg QT immunoassay. Hepatitis B core-related antigen was detected by enzyme immunoassay. Pre-C and Core promoter mutations were determined using by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Drug-resistance mutations were detected by the PCR-Invader method.
At year 2, HBV DNA levels in all patients in the HBeAg-negative group were < 3.0 log copies/mL. In contrast, in the HBeAg-positive group, 41.7% were slow-responders, while 58.3% were rapid-responders. No entecavir-resistant mutants were detected in the slow-responders. When the pretreatment factors were compared between the slow- and rapid-responders; the median qHBsAg in the slow-responders was 4.57 log IU/mL, compared with 3.63 log IU/mL in the rapid-responders (P < 0.01). When the pretreatment factors predictive of HBV DNA-negative status at year 2 in all 50 patients were analyzed, HBeAg-negative status, low HBV DNA levels, and low qHBsAg levels were significant (P < 0.01). Multivariate analysis revealed that the low qHBsAg level was the most significant predictive factor (P = 0.03).
Quantitation of HBsAg could be a useful indicator to predict response to entecavir therapy.