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J Hepatol. 2001 Dec;35(6):805-10.

Lamivudine and alpha-interferon in combination long term for precore mutant chronic hepatitis B.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Cliniche Mediche IV paino-Policlinico, University of Bari, Piazza Guilio Cesare 70100, Bari, Italy.



Alpha-interferon (alpha-IFN) and lamivudine are the two licensed drugs for patients with chronic hepatitis B, however, their efficacy in precore mutant chronic hepatitis B is limited. The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of 1 year alpha-IFN-lamivudine combination therapy for anti-HBe/hepatitis B virus- (HBV)-DNA positive patients.


Between 1997 and 1999, 29 consecutive anti-HBe/HBV-DNA positive patients entered this prospective pilot study. Patients received 100mg lamivudine orally daily and alpha-IFN 6 million units (MU) three times weekly for 52 weeks. All patients were followed-up for 12 months after stopping therapy. Primary end points were loss of serum HBV-DNA and alanine transaminase normalization at week 52.


Overall, the end-treatment biochemical and virological response was 93% while the sustained response at week 104 was 14%. HBV-DNA negative patients did not experience a viral breakthrough during treatment; no tyrosine-methionine-aspartate-aspartate amino acid motif of HBV polymerase (YMDD) variant emerged. At week 52, 46% of patients with paired liver biopsies slides available, showed an histological improvement (histological activity index > or =2).


Combination of lamivudine and interferon for 1 year is followed by high end-treatment virological and biochemical response rates, by improvement of liver histology and by the prevention of the emergence of YMDD mutation; however, the sustained response rate remains low.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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