• adefovir dipivoxil;
  • chronic hepatitis B;
  • cirrhosis;
  • drug resistance;
  • efficacy;
  • HBV-DNA;
  • hepatitis B virus;
  • hepatocellular carcinoma;
  • lamivudine;
  • nucleoside analog


Background and Aims:  A prospective, non-randomized cohort study on long-term lamivudine treatment, comparing efficacy, drug resistance, and prognosis for various stages of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV)–related liver disease was performed to elucidate the significance and indication of lamivudine for individual patients at each stage of disease.

Methods:  A total of 158 cases consisting of 87 chronic hepatitis, 28 compensated cirrhosis, and 43 decompensated cirrhosis, with serum HBV-DNA > 5 log10 copies/mL and with elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT) over twice the upper normal limit or complications of hepatic insufficiency, were administered 100 mg of lamivudine daily and monitored for HBV markers, biochemistry, and prognosis.

Results:  Lamivudine reduced HBV-DNA and ALT equally in all groups. Serum albumin, prothrombin time (%), and platelet count increased in all groups. The increased margin of albumin was the highest in the decompensated cirrhosis and higher in the compensated cirrhosis than the chronic hepatitis groups. Cumulative incidence of virologic breakthrough was 16%, 42%, 49%, and 53% at 12, 24, 36, and 48 months, respectively, and the strongest predictive factor for lamivudine resistance was persistent HBV-DNA at 3 months. Ascites, encephalopathy, and jaundice improved in the majority of patients with decompensated cirrhosis. On the other hand, hepatic failure developed or deteriorated in 10 patients after virologic breakthrough, and nine of them had decompensated cirrhosis.

Conclusions:  Lamivudine was effective in reducing HBV-DNA and improving hepatic reserve at all stages and was most beneficial and significant for decompensated cirrhosis. Meanwhile, close monitoring of viral load and immediate rescue treatment for lamivudine resistance is necessary to prevent hepatic failure in decompensated cirrhosis.