Randomized trial of lamivudine versus entecavir in entecavir-treated patients with undetectable hepatitis B virus DNA: Outcome at 2 Years


  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.

  • Supply of lamivudine was kindly provided by GlaxoSmithKline (Hong Kong).


We aimed to determine the 2-year outcomes of entecavir followed by lamivudine in patients with undetectable viral load (<12 IU/mL) and normal alanine aminotransferase (ALT) after initial entecavir treatment for at least 6 months. Patients were randomly assigned 1:1 to continue with entecavir or switch to lamivudine. Liver biochemistry and hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA were determined at weeks 0, 4, 12, 24, 48, 72, and 96. Mutational analysis using line-probe assay were performed at weeks 0, 24, 48, and 96 and at the time of HBV DNA relapse. There was no elevation of ALT observed in any patients up to 96 weeks. At 96 weeks of follow-up, 19/25 (76%) patients in the lamivudine arm had persistently undetectable HBV DNA, compared with 25/25 (100%) patients in the entecavir arm. Six patients in the lamivudine arm had HBV DNA >20 IU/mL, occurring at a range of 12 to 96 weeks. Of these, four patients had HBV DNA of less than 100 IU/mL during rebound (three had undetectable HBV DNA after switching back to entecavir), and the remaining two patients had HBV DNA levels of 7,973 and 699 IU/mL. Three patients (12%) had evidence of drug-resistant mutations, of which two patients had rtM204I mutation and one patient had rtM204V mutation. One of these three patients had previous lamivudine exposure before entecavir treatment and one patient had questionable drug compliance. Conclusion: Sequential therapy using entecavir followed by lamivudine resulted in virological rebound in 24% of patients after 96 weeks. Prior optimal viral suppression with entecavir did not confer any significant advantage in patients who switched to lamivudine. (HEPATOLOGY 2011;)