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Am J Gastroenterol. 2014 Aug;109(8):1223-33. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2014.145. Epub 2014 Jun 3.

Effect of virological response to entecavir on the development of hepatocellular carcinoma in hepatitis B viral cirrhotic patients: comparison between compensated and decompensated cirrhosis.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, South Korea.



This study aimed to evaluate the risk of development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) according to underlying liver status and virological response (VR) to entecavir (ETV) in chronic hepatitis B patients with cirrhosis. Procollagen III N-terminal peptide (PIIINP) concentration during ETV treatment and its association with HCC development were also evaluated.


A total of 306 patients with clinically diagnosed liver cirrhosis were treated with ETV for ≥12 months and were subsequently followed up for the occurrence of HCC (median follow-up duration: 37.0 months). Patients who developed HCC within 12 months were excluded. VR was defined as a hepatitis B virus DNA level <20 IU/ml at 12 months after ETV treatment.


A total of 209 patients (68.3%) had compensated cirrhosis, and the remaining patients (31.7%) had decompensated cirrhosis. The 5-year cumulative incidence of HCC was 26.8%. A multivariate Cox regression analysis identified the following independent risk factors for developing HCC in all the patients: age >50 years (hazard ratio (HR)=8.41; 95% confidence interval (CI)=3.86-18.28; P=0.000), male sex (HR=4.24; 95% CI=1.83-9.81; P=0.001), high serum PIIINP level at 12 months (HR=1.07; 95% CI=1.02-1.13; P=0.007), and no VR at 12 months (HR=2.10; 95% CI=1.02-4.33; P=0.043). The subgroup analyses showed that no VR at 12 months is a significant risk factor for developing HCC in the patients with decompensated cirrhosis (HR=7.74; 95% CI=1.34-44.78; P=0.022) but not in those with compensated cirrhosis (P=0.749).


The antiviral treatment with ETV did not completely eliminate the risk of developing HCC in our patients with cirrhosis. However, VR to ETV was associated with a low probability that the patients with decompensated cirrhosis would develop HCC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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