• adefovir;
  • drug resistance;
  • entecavir;
  • hepatitis B;
  • lamivudine

Summary.  We determined the virologic response, incidence of entecavir resistance, and evolution of lamivudine and adefovir-resistant mutants during entecavir (ETV) therapy in adefovir-refractory patients with prior lamivudine resistance. Forty adefovir-refractory chronic hepatitis B patients with prior lamivudine resistance who had received entecavir for ≥6 months were included and monitored for virologic response and entecavir resistance. Ten per cent of patients achieved HBV DNA < 50 copies/mL by PCR after 24 weeks of ETV therapy, and an initial virologic response was observed in 12 of 40 patients (30%). Higher pretreatment ALT (P = 0.039) and the presence of the rtL180M mutation (P = 0.038) were associated with an initial virologic response. During a mean follow-up of 11.4 months, four patients (10%) experienced virologic breakthrough, while ETV-resistant mutants were detected in six patients (15%). YMDD and adefovir-resistant mutants were detected in 57 and 35% of patients at baseline, respectively. At 48 weeks of therapy, 96 and 4% of patients had YMDD and adefovir-resistant mutants, respectively. These data suggest an early development of ETV resistance and low antiviral response during ETV therapy in adefovir-refractory patients with prior lamivudine resistance.