Majority of previous studies of pegylated interferon alpha-2a (PegIFNalpha-2a) forced on naive chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients, and the data of PegIFNalpha-2a in therapy of patients with prior exposure to nucleos(t)ide analogues is rare. This study aimed to investigate the predictive role of serum quantitative hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) in predicting sustained response of PegIFNalpha-2a in HBeAg-positive CHB patients with prior lamivudine exposure.
Forty-six patients with prior lamivudine exposure received PegIFNalpha-2a for 12 months and followed-up for 6 months. The clinical features of responders and non-responders were compared, and the predictive role of quantitative HBsAg in predicting responders at the end of follow-up was evaluated. Responders were defined as an ALT normalization, HBeAg seroconversion and sustained virological response at the end of follow-up.
In this cohort, only 26.1% (12/46) patients were responders. The baseline characteristics of the responders and non-responders were similar; however, the rates of ALT normalization, HBV DNA undetectability and HBeAg seroconversion were all significantly higher in responders than that in non-responders. During the treatment and follow-up, the HBsAg levels were all significantly lower in responders than that in non-responders. In predicting reponders, the serum HBsAg cutoff of 6000 IU/mL at months 6 had a positive predictive value of 73.3 and a negative predictive value of 96.8%, and with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.869.
The responders toward PegIFNalpha-2a in CHB patients with prior lamivudine exposure is not high, and serum HBsAg <6000 IU/Ml at months 6 of on-treatment had a high value to predict long-term outcomes of treatment.