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J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2011 Mar;26(3):456-60. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1746.2010.06492.x.

Poor durability of lamivudine effectiveness despite stringent cessation criteria: a prospective clinical study in hepatitis B e antigen-negative chronic hepatitis B patients.

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Department of Infectious Diseases and Hepatology, the Second Hospital of Shandong University, Shanghai, China.



Lamivudine, a nucleoside analog, is commonly used for treatment of chronic hepatitis B (CHB) but its durability of effectiveness after withdrawal is still uncertain. This study was designed to assess the durability of lamivudine treatment with stringent cessation criteria in hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-negative patients and to explore potential predictive factors.


Sixty one HBeAg-negative CHB patients who had received lamivudine for at least 24 months and had maintained undetectable serum hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA plus normal alanine aminotransferase for ≥ 18 months before withdrawal were included. They were followed up monthly during the first 4 months and at 3-month or 6-month intervals thereafter. Relapse was defined as serum HBV DNA ≥ 10(4) copies/mL.


Thirty one of 61 patients relapsed during follow-up, over 90% occurred within 18 months after lamivudine withdrawal. Cumulative relapse rates at months 6, 12, 24, 36, 48 and 60 were 26.2%, 43.6%, 49.7%, 52.1%, 56.1% and 56.1%, respectively. Cox regression revealed that age was the only predictive factor for relapse, with lower relapse rates found in younger patients. Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) turned negative in eight patients, and none of them relapsed during follow-up.


Effectiveness of lamivudine treatment is not durable in HBeAg-negative CHB patients even when stringent cessation criteria are adopted, with the exception of patients aged ≤ 20 years. The ideal end point of lamivudine treatment is clearance of serum HBsAg.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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