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Gastroenterol Clin Biol. 1996;20(11):968-71.

Alpha-interferon for chronic active hepatitis B in human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients.

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  • 1Unité d'Hépatologie, Hôpital Necker, Paris.



A pilot study was conducted to evaluate the efficiency of alpha-interferon treatment in chronic active hepatitis B in anti-HIV-positive patients.


Twenty-five patients with chronic active hepatitis (23 men and 2 women, mean age: 33 years) were included in the study. Viral infections were acquired by intravenous drug addiction in 2, homosexual relations in 22, and multiple heterosexual contacts in one. The mean CD4 cell count was 480 +/- 234/mL, 7 patients had p24 antigenemia, but none belonged to class C of the CDC classification. All patients were serum HBs Ag and HBV DNA-positive, and delta antigen and antibody negative. Patients received a 6-month course of alpha-interferon 2a, 6 MU subcutaneously three times per week. The mean follow-up after treatment was 15 months. Eighteen patients with serum anti-HIV antibodies, HBsAg and HBV DNA-positive, and chronic active hepatitis, who were not treated with interferon, were included as controls (mean follow-up: 29 months).


Nine of the 25 patients (36%) lost serum HBV DNA (1, 2, 4, 6, and 8 months after the beginning of treatment in 1, 4, 1, 2 and 1 cases, respectively), and were considered responders. Only one of the responders developed serum anti-HBe during follow-up, despite the disappearance of HBe Ag in 2 and of HBs Ag in one. Loss of HBV DNA was not clearly associated with the immune status, since 3 of the 9 responders had p24 antigenemia and the 9 responders had a lower mean CD4 count (283 +/- 246/mm3) than non responders (454 +/- 437/mm3, NS). Three of the 18 patients (16.7%) in the control group had spontaneous loss of serum HBV DNA during follow-up. Thus, there was a 2.15-fold increase in HBV DNA loss in the anti-HIV-positive patients who received alpha-interferon, compared to those who did not.


In HIV-positive patients treated with alpha-interferon, the rate of HBV DNA loss was not clearly different from that reported in immunocompetent patients. As severe HBV-related liver disease has previously been described in anti-HIV positive patients, at least in drug users, these results suggest that this treatment may be proposed whatever the immune status, at least in the absence of AIDS.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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