Clinical features and survival in Chinese patients with hepatitis B e antigen-negative hepatitis B virus-related cirrhosis


Professor Lai Wei, Peking University Hepatology Institute, Peking University People's Hospital, No.11 Xizhimen South Street, Beijing 100044, China. Email:


Aim:  To compare the clinical features of hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-negative and HBeAg-positive cirrhosis, and to define the survival and prognostic indicators of Chinese HBeAg-negative hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related cirrhosis.

Methods:  Two hundred and seventeen patients with chronic hepatitis B cirrhosis were studied. Survival was calculated using the Kaplan–Meier method. Proportional hazards Cox regression procedure was used to identify independent predictors of survival. The relationship between HBV-DNA viral load and prognosis was also investigated.

Results:  The mean follow-up time was 35 months (3–47 months). HBeAg-negative liver cirrhosis patients comprised the greatest number of cirrhosis patients. Median alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels, median total leukocytes (WBC), hemoglobin (Hb), platelet (Plt) and HBV-DNA levels and the proportion of HBV-DNA > 105 copies/mL were lower in HBeAg-negative patients. There were fewer complications in patients treated with lamivudine than in other patients. Survival rates were significantly reduced in patients with HBeAg-negative cirrhosis (P = 0.0024). The baseline Child–Pugh scores and more than one decompensation during follow up were independent variables correlated with survival of HBeAg-negative liver cirrhosis patients (P = 0.006 and P = 0.001, respectively). The HBV-DNA viral load did not correlate with any complications or mortality rates of HBeAg-negative patients.

Conclusions:  The clinical features of HBeAg-negative and -positive liver cirrhosis differ. Survival was significantly reduced for Chinese patients with HBeAg-negative than -positive cirrhosis. Factors contributing to the prognosis were baseline Child–Pugh scores and the presence of more than one decompensation during follow up.