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Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2009 Oct;7(10):1113-20. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2009.05.025. Epub 2009 Jun 23.

Surrogate end points and long-term outcome in patients with chronic hepatitis B.

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Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.



It is unclear whether surrogate end points reported in clinical trials correlate with long-term outcome of patients with chronic hepatitis B.


Patients with chronic hepatitis B who participated in any of 4 randomized controlled trials were followed prospectively for liver-related events (hepatocellular carcinoma, ascites, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, variceal bleeding, liver transplantation, and death). Biochemical (normal ALT levels), virologic (levels of hepatitis B virus DNA below 10,000 copies/mL), and histologic (reduction of necroinflammation grading by 2 points or more with no increase in fibrosis staging) responses were evaluated at the end of each trial.


One hundred ninety-five patients with adequate pretreatment and post-treatment liver biopsies (15 mm long and 6 portal tracts) were followed for 86 months (interquartile range, 77-98). Liver-related events occurred in 12 patients (6%). The risk of liver-related events was lower in patients with biochemical (hazard ratio, 0.21; 95% confidence interval, 0.068-0.68) and histologic (hazard ratio, 0.095; 95% confidence interval, 0.012-0.74) responses. Only 1 patient with a histologic response and 1 patient with an ALT level below Prati's cutoffs (30 IU/L in men and 19 IU/L in women) developed liver-related events. Fifteen of 25 patients (60%) with cirrhosis at baseline had regression of cirrhosis, and none of these patients died or developed liver-related events. In contrast, 3 of these patients still developed liver-related events, despite an initial virologic response, and 2 had virologic breakthrough.


Biochemical and histologic responses, particularly regression of cirrhosis, in patients with chronic hepatitis B are associated with decreased liver-related complications.

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