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Hepatobiliary Pancreat Dis Int. 2003 Nov;2(4):566-70.

The natural history of chronic hepatitis B: a retrospective study.

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Department of Digestive Diseases, Chongqing Three Gorges Central Hospital, Wanzhou District, Chongqing 404000, China.



To clarify the natural history of chronic hepatitis B so as to evaluate its long-term therapeutic outcome of the patients and the efficacy of antiviral drugs.


A cohort of 183 biopsy-proven chronic hepatitis B patients (mean age of 31.75+/-8.03 years, male/female ratio: 152:31) and 247 controls were followed up retrospectively for 11.81+/-4.08 years. This study was focused on long-term clinical outcome including the rates of liver cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma and death, apart from the long-term effect of antiviral drugs and prognostic factors.


In the 183 chronic hepatitis B patients, 22 (12.02%) developed liver cirrhosis, 12 (6.56%) developed hepatocellular carcinoma, and 20 (10.93%) died. The 5-, 10- and 15-year survival rates were 97.27%, 91.62%, and 84.47%, respectively. The 5-, 10- and 15-year incidence rates of HCC were 0, 3.19%, and 11.56%, respectively. In the 247 controls, 6 (2.43%) died; none of them developed cirrhosis or HCC. The rates of death, liver cirrhosis, and HCC in the hepatitis B patients were markedly different (P<0.005) compared with the controls. The overall mortality of hepatitis B patients was 4.5-fold higher than the general population. Cox multiple regression analysis showed that old age, severe histological injury, and positive HBeAg were closely related to liver cirrhosis; old age, severe histological injury, and male were major factors leading to death. The independent variable of predicted HCC was not found.


The long-term outcome of hepatitis B patients is poor and the efficacy of antiviral drugs needs further study.

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