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Medicine (Baltimore). 2016 Jan;95(4):e2614. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000002614.

Dynamics of Genotypic Mutations of the Hepatitis B Virus Associated With Long-Term Entecavir Treatment Determined With Ultradeep Pyrosequencing: A Retrospective Observational Study.

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From the Department of Infectious Disease, Peking University First Hospital, No.8 Xishiku Street, Xicheng District, Beijing, China.


The aim of the study is to explore the evolution of genotypic mutations within the reverse transcriptase region in partial virological responders (PVRs) receiving long-term entecavir (ETV) treatment. A total of 32 patients were classified as completely virological responders (CVRs) (n = 12) or PVRs (n = 20). Five partial responders were hepatitis B virus (HBV)-DNA positive after long-term therapy, which lasted for >3 years. A total of 71 serum samples from these 32 patients were assayed by ultra-deep pyrosequencing (UDPS): 32 samples were from all patients at baseline, and 39 were from PVRs with sequential inter-treatment. Approximately 84,708 sequences were generated per sample. At baseline, the quasispecies heterogeneity did not significantly differ between the 2 groups. The frequencies of substitutions indicating pre-existence of nucleos(t)ide analog resistant (NAr) mutants ranged from 0.10% to 6.70%, which did not statistically differ between groups either. However, the substitutions associated with the NAr mutants were significantly different from those associated with the non-NAr mutants in 13 patients; 6 of these patients were PVRs and the others were CVRs. Five patients were HBV DNA positive after regular ETV monotherapy for >3 years, and 4 of these patients underwent mild NAr substitution fluctuations (<20%). One patient developed virological breakthrough while bearing single, double, and triple (rtL180 M, rtM204 V, rtS202G) substitutions. In addition to the common substitutions, unknown amino acid substitutions, such as rtL145 M/S, rtF151Y/L, rtR153Q, rtI224 V, rtN248H, rtS223A, rtS256C, need to be further verified. NAr substitutions are observed at frequencies of 0.10% to 6.7% before therapy. Long-term ETV therapy generally results in virological responses, as long as the proportion of resistance mutations remains at a relatively low level. Genotypic resistance to ETV is detected in all PVRs receiving long-term ETV therapy.

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