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Semin Liver Dis. 2006 May;26(2):142-52.

Hepatitis B virus-related cirrhosis: natural history and treatment.

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Liver Research Unit, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and Chang Gung University, Taipei, Taiwan.


In patients with compensated hepatitis B virus (HBV) cirrhosis, active viral replication correlates significantly with the risk of hepatic flare, decompensation, and the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The 5-year survival of patients with compensated cirrhosis was reported to be 80 to 85%, and is significantly lower in patients with replicative HBV. Both interferon and maintenance lamivudine therapy have been shown to reduce the risk of decompensation or HCC and prolong survival in responders. A finite course of interferon is recommended as the first-line agent. For patients who had a contraindication for or who have failed interferon therapy, direct antiviral(s) can be considered for long-term treatment. Once decompensation occurs, mortality increases remarkably. Early treatment with nucleoside analogues should be instituted. Lamivudine therapy is associated with rapid viral suppression, improvement in Child-Pugh scores, and improved survival, but drug resistance is a major problem and is associated directly with a poor clinical outcome. Adefovir or entecavir is preferred in patients with decompensated cirrhosis who require long duration of treatment, due to the lower rate of development of resistance.

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