Summary. The impact of mutations in the precore and basal core promoter (BCP) regions of the hepatitis B virus on the course of chronic liver disease is not well established. We sought to examine the relationship of these characteristics to the clinical expression of liver disease in patients infected with genotype D chronic hepatitis B (CHB). BCP and precore mutations in 110 patients with genotype D1 CHB were determined and correlated with clinical phenotype. Of 110 patients, 95 (86.5%) were HBeAg-negative. Compared with HBeAg-positive subjects, HBeAg-negative patients were over a decade older and had lower viral loads (3.70 ± 0.98 vs 5.77 ± 0.69 log copies/ml, P < 0.001). The double mutation A1762T-G1764A was more prevalent in patients with advanced liver disease (AdLD) and was associated with higher alanine aminotransferase and viral load. After adjusting for age, there was a more than fourfold increase in the risk of AdLD with this mutation (OR = 4.4; 95% CI: 1.13–16.92, P < 0.03). Conversely, the G1757A substitution was associated with protection, being 90% less frequent among patients with AdLD (P = 0.001). The results indicate that in genotype D CHB, the presence of the A1762T-G1764A mutation was associated with more aggressive liver disease while the G1757A substitution was associated with protection from advanced disease.