BACKGROUND: Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection represents a serious global health problem and resistance to lamivudine (LAM) has become a serious clinical challenge. Previous rescue therapy for the treatment of chronic LAM-resistant hepatitis B infected patients included switching to entecavir (ETV) and adding adefovir (ADV) or tenofovir (TFV). At present, switching to ETV is not recommended for rescue therapy for LAM-resistant chronic hepatitis B (CHB). The aim of this report was to determine whether add-on ADV was a superior rescue strategy in the treatment of CHB patients with LAM resistance.
METHODS: We searched Medline/PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Knowledge, and the Cochrane Library. Relative risks (RRs) of virologic response, virologic breakthrough, normalization of serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels and HBeAg seroconversion rates were studied. Factors predicting virologic response, standardized mean differences (SMD) in HBV DNA levels and safety were reviewed.
RESULTS: Six eligible trials (451 patients in total) were included in the analysis. The rate of virologic breakthrough in the ETV group was higher than that in the LAM plus ADV group. There were no statistical differences in virologic response, ALT normalization and HBeAg seroconversion in either group 48 weeks post treatment. LAM plus ADV combination therapy produced faster and greater HBV DNA reduction rates 24 weeks post therapy compared to ETV monotherapy. HBV DNA baseline levels and the initial virologic response (IVR) were predictive of the virologic response. Additionally, combination therapy or monotherapy were both well tolerated.
CONCLUSIONS: LAM plus ADV combination therapy was more effective and produced longer-lasting effects than switching to ETV monotherapy in treating CHB patients with LAM resistance. However, considering the practical benefits and limitations of ADV, individualized therapy will be needed in patients with prior history of LAM resistant infections.