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Hepatology. 2010 Jun;51(6):1945-53. doi: 10.1002/hep.23568.

Durability of peginterferon alfa-2b treatment at 5 years in patients with hepatitis B e antigen-positive chronic hepatitis B.

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


Approximately 30%-40% of patients with hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-positive chronic hepatitis B treated with peginterferon and/or lamivudine achieve HBeAg seroconversion 6 months after the end of treatment. The durability and long-term effect of treatment are unknown. In this study, 85 HBeAg-positive patients who received peginterferon alfa-2b 1.5 microg/kg/week for 32 weeks and lamivudine 100 mg/day for 52 or 104 weeks were prospectively followed for 6.1 +/- 1.7 years posttreatment. Twenty-five (29%) patients had virologic response (HBeAg seroconversion and HBV DNA <10,000 copies/mL) at 5 years. The rate of HBeAg seroconversion rose progressively from 37% at the end of treatment to 60% at 5 years. Twenty-seven (32%) and 11 (13%) patients had undetectable HBV DNA (<100 copies/mL) at the end of peginterferon treatment and at 5 years, respectively. Two (2.4%) patients achieved hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) seroclearance at 2.6 and 84 months posttreatment. Among virologic responders at the end of treatment, 82% and 57% and sustained HBeAg seroconversion and virologic response at 5 years. End-of-treatment serum quantitative HBsAg was significantly lower in patients with sustained virologic response at 5 years (median 1,431 IU/mL versus 2,689 IU/mL [P = 0.041]). At the last follow-up, the liver stiffness measurement by transient elastography was 5.8 +/- 2.7 kPa. Only two patients had liver stiffness suggestive of advanced fibrosis. Week 16 HBV DNA, end-of-treatment HBeAg seroconversion, and undetectable HBV DNA were independent factors associated with virologic response at 5 years. The duration of concomitant lamivudine treatment had no impact on any long-term response.


Peginterferon has high durability in HBeAg-positive chronic hepatitis B patients with end-of-treatment virologic response.

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