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Gastroenterology. 2007 Nov;133(5):1466-74. Epub 2007 Sep 6.

Pre-S deletion and complex mutations of hepatitis B virus related to advanced liver disease in HBeAg-negative patients.

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Division of Hepatogastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital-Kaohsiung Medical Center, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.



This longitudinal study investigated the interactions and roles of hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotypes, pre-S deletions, and core promoter and precore mutations on the progression of liver disease in hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-negative patients.


A total of 141 HBeAg-negative patients without liver cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma at study entry were recruited for this study, including 45 inactive HBV carriers and 96 patients with HBeAg-negative chronic hepatitis B. The HBV genotypes and the sequences of pre-S, core promoter, and precore regions were determined.


Compared with patients without developing liver cirrhosis, patients with the development of liver cirrhosis had higher rates of genotype C; pre-S deletions; C or G1753, T1762/A1764, T1766, and/or A1768 mutants; and G1799 variant. Cox regression analysis showed that older age, higher total bilirubin and HBV DNA levels, pre-S deletions, and T1766 and/or A1768 mutants were significantly associated with the development of liver cirrhosis. HBV with a complex mutation pattern (pre-S deletion, T1762/A1764, and T1766 and/or A1768 mutants) rather than a single mutation was associated with the development of liver cirrhosis, and the patterns of mutation combinations differed between HBV genotype B and C. Moreover, pre-S deletion was a significant risk factor for hepatocellular carcinoma.


This study indicated that pre-S deletion and combined mutations of HBV are useful molecular markers for predicting the clinical outcomes of HBeAg-negative patients.

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