Determinants for sustained HBeAg response to lamivudine therapy



There are inconsistent data on the durability of hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) seroconversion after lamivudine is discontinued. The aim of this study was to examine the determinants for sustained HBeAg response to lamivudine therapy. Both host and viral factors as well as the drug factor were compared between 43 patients with sustained HBeAg response and 39 patients whose response was not sustained. All of them received a mean period of 16 months (range, 3-55 months) lamivudine therapy and had achieved complete response (HBeAg seroconversion plus HBV DNA seroclearance by hybrid capture assay and normal alanine aminotransferase [ALT]) and were followed-up for a mean period of 44 months (range, 12-88 months). Stepwise logistic regression model was used to estimate the sustained response on the presence of the following variables: age; gender; pretherapy ALT; total bilirubin and HBV DNA levels; time to HBeAg seroconversion; additional lamivudine treatment after HBeAg seroconversion; total duration of treatment; hepatitis activity index scores; periportal, intralobular, and portal inflammation and fibrosis scores; scores excluding fibrosis; status of precore mutation; basal core promoter mutation; and genotype. The results showed that genotype (OR, 5.922; 95% CI, 1.611-21.768; P = .007), age (OR, 0.943; 95% CI, 0.891-0.997; P = .040), and additional treatment (OR, 1.097; 95% CI, 1.028-1.171; P = .005) were independent factors to sustained HBeAg response. Further categorical analysis disclosed that patients with genotype B, age ≤36 years, and additional lamivudine treatment over 8 months have higher sustained response. In conclusion, HBV genotype, age, and additional treatment are the major determinants for the sustained HBeAg response to lamivudine therapy.