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J Hepatol. 2006 Sep;45(3):355-60. Epub 2006 Apr 18.

Characteristics of patients with chronic hepatitis B in France: predominant frequency of HBe antigen negative cases.

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  • 1Département d'Hépato-gastroentérologie, CHU de Grenoble-BP 217-38043 Grenoble CEDEX 9, France.



An increasing prevalence of HBe antigen (HBeAg) negative chronic hepatitis B has been recently reported in many countries. The aim of this study was to analyze the frequency and the characteristics of HBeAg-negative as compared with HBeAg-positive chronic hepatitis B in France.


Eight hundred and sixty-five patients with histologically proven chronic hepatitis B seen in 26 University centers were included. The proportion with HBeAg-negative chronic hepatitis B was 72% and higher in patients born in Africa, Middle East, Eastern, and Southern Europe than in those of French or Asian origin. HBeAg-negative patients were significantly older (p<0.001) and had lower ALT levels and HBV DNA serum levels (p<0.01) than HBeAg-positive patients. An unknown source of infection was more prevalent in HBeAg-negative patients (p<0.05). Fibrosis score (p<0.05) and proportion of cirrhosis (p<0.01) were significantly higher in HBeAg-negative patients. Age older than 50 years, male gender and viral load lower than 5 logs10 copies/mL were independently associated with cirrhosis.


HBeAg-negative chronic hepatitis B is predominant in France. This observation is important for an optimized clinical management and future therapeutic trials in chronic hepatitis B.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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