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Dig Dis Sci. 2011 Jan;56(1):208-12. doi: 10.1007/s10620-010-1255-9. Epub 2010 May 14.

Long-term effect of interferon therapy in patients with HBeAg positive chronic hepatitis B infection.

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  • 1Cerrahpasa Medical Faculty, Department of Gastroenterology, Istanbul University, and Department of Internal Medicine, Istanbul Education and Training Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey.



Several studies have reported that interferon therapy increases elimination rate of HBeAg and anti-HBe seroconversion in chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients. We aimed to evaluate long-term results of interferon-α treatment in HBeAg positive CHB patients in a country with exclusively D genotype.


Seventy-one naive CHB patients (M/F 61/10, mean age 29±12 years, range 16-62) treated with 6 months of interferon-α 2b, 10 MU tiw and had a consequent untreated follow-up period of at least 10 years with positive response were identified and their data were reviewed. The therapy response was defined as HBeAg seroconversion with undetectable HBV-DNA. The responders were followed-up at 3-6-month intervals.


Twenty-eight (39%) patients achieved HBeAg seroconversion (25 within the therapy, 3 within the consequent 12 months off-treatment follow-up). The responders were followed-up with a mean period of 152 months (range 123-181). In the follow-up period, 21/25 (84%) initial responders relapsed. On the other hand, 3 patients who did not respond at the end of therapy sustained the response during follow-up. Hence 21/28 total responders relapsed (75%), either with HBeAg reversion (3, 14.3%) or HBV-DNA elevation over 2000 IU/ml (or its equivalent in other types of definitions) and ALT elevation (18, 85.7%). The sustained response was present in 7 patients (9.8%). Serious side effects precluding completion of treatment occurred in three patients (4.2%). In multivariate analysis none of the pre-treatment parameters appeared to be significant in predicting response.


Sustained response to interferon treatment is low in HBeAg positive CHB patients with genotype D.

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