• adefovir dipivoxil;
  • hepatitis B virus;
  • rtL180M mutation;
  • virological resistance


Background and Aim:  We intended to investigate the effects of pre-existing mutations at reverse transcriptase region of hepatitis B virus (HBV) on the occurrence of virological breakthrough (VB) to adefovir dipivoxil (ADV) in patients with lamivudine (LAM)-resistant chronic hepatitis B (CHB).

Methods:  Ninety-seven patients with LAM-resistant CHB were treated with ADV at a dose of 10 mg daily, and were followed for a median period of 13 months. Just before the initiation of ADV therapy, the whole length of reverse transcriptase region of serum HBV-DNA was sequenced using direct sequencing.

Results:  All patients had genotype C HBV and mutations in the YMDD motif, specifically, YIDD (65%), YVDD (28%), or both (7%). The rtL180M and rtL80V/I mutations were identified in 68% and 69%, respectively. The cumulative probability of VB was 19% and 27% at 1 and 2 years, respectively. There was no difference in the occurrence of VB with regard to types of YMDD mutation or rtL80V/I. However, interestingly, patients carrying rtL180M experienced VB during ADV monotherapy more frequently than those not carrying rtL180M (2-year cumulative probability of VB: 37% vs 3% at 2 years, P < 0.01). On multivariate Cox proportional hazards analysis, rtL180M (hazard ratio [HR]: 8.62, 95% confidence interval: 1.08–69.09, P = 0.042) and decrease in HBV-DNA for 1 year of treatment (HR: 0.69, 95% CI: 0.51–0.95, P = 0.024) are independently associated with VB.

Conclusions:  The rtL180M mutation of HBV, as well as a small decrease in HBV-DNA after 1 year of treatment might be closely associated with frequent occurrence of virological resistance to ADV in patients with LAM-resistant CHB.