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Long-term efficacy of entecavir therapy in chronic hepatitis B patients with antiviral resistance to lamivudine and adefovir


Chun Kyon Lee, MD, National Health Insurance Corporation Ilsan Hospital, 1232 Baeksuk-dong, Ilsan-ku, Goyang-shi, Kyunggi-do 410-719, Korea. E-mail:


Summary.  No studies have reported the long-term effects of entecavir switching in patients with multidrug resistance who developed resistance after lamivudine/adefovir sequential therapy. We evaluated the efficacy of 96 weeks of entecavir therapy in patients with resistance to lamivudine/adefovir sequential therapy. In total, 33 patients with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection with evidence of active viral replication (HBV DNA levels ≥105 copies/mL) or a history of treatment failure to lamivudine/adefovir sequential therapy between April 2007 and July 2009 were treated with entecavir (1.0 mg daily) for at least 48 weeks. The rates of alanine transaminase (ALT) normalization and HBV DNA negativity were 66.7% (14/21) and 24.2% (8/33) at 48 weeks, respectively. The initial HBV DNA level was the only factor that was inversely associated with serum HBV DNA negativity after 48 weeks of entecavir therapy (< 0.023). At 96 weeks, the rates of ALT normalization and HBV DNA negativity were 77.8% (7/9) and 16.7% (3/18), respectively. Viral breakthrough occurred in 21.2% (7/33) and 78.9% (15/19) of patients at 48 and 96 weeks, respectively. Patients who achieved a HBV DNA level of <4 log10 copies/mL at 48 weeks maintained a similar HBV DNA level and a normal ALT level until 96 weeks. Entecavir monotherapy for 96 weeks was not efficacious for patients with lamivudine/adefovir-resistant HBV. The initial HBV DNA level was the only predictive factor for antiviral efficacy. However, patients who achieved a HBV DNA level of <4 log10 copies/mL with a normal ALT level at 48 weeks should maintain, rather than stop, entecavir therapy.