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Gastroenterology. 2003 Jan;124(1):105-17.

Histological outcome during long-term lamivudine therapy.

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Gastrointestinal Unit (Medical Services), Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA.



One year of lamivudine for chronic hepatitis B results in histologic improvement. We aimed to assess the histological impact of longer-term treatment.


Sets of 3 liver biopsies, from 63 patients before and after 1 year of randomized lamivudine treatment and after 2 years of further open-label treatment, were assigned Histologic Activity Index scores under code.


At the end of year 1, 36/63 (57%) showed > or =2 point improvement and 24/63 (38%) no change in necroinflammatory activity; after 2 additional years of lamivudine, 38/63 (60%) remained stable and 12/63 (19%) continued to improve. Worsening occurred in similar proportions of patients with and without YMDD (tyrosine, methionine, aspartate, aspartate) variants. After all 3 years of lamivudine treatment, 35/63 (56%) of patients showed improvement, 21/63 (33%) no change, and 7/63 (11%) worsening. Those without, compared with those with, YMDD variants were more likely to improve (17/22 [77%] vs. 18/41 [44%]) and less likely to deteriorate (1/22 [5%] vs. 6/41 [15%]). Patients with YMDD variants for >2 years were least likely to improve (8/22 [36%]). Bridging fibrosis improved by > or =1 level in 12/19 (63%), and cirrhosis improved (score of 4 to < or =3) in 8/11 (73%). Only 1/52 [2%]) showed progression to cirrhosis, and 3/34 (9%) showed progression to bridging fibrosis (all with YMDD variants).


Three years of lamivudine therapy reduces necroinflammatory activity and reverses fibrosis (including cirrhosis) in most patients. The emergence of YMDD variants blunts histologic responses; therefore, extended-duration YMDD variants may require additional therapies to maintain the histological benefit of treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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