Get access

Prognosis of hepatitis B-related liver cirrhosis in the era of oral nucleos(t)ide analog antiviral agents


  • Conflict of interest: Nothing to disclose.

Professor Soon Ho Um, Department of Internal Medicine, Korea University College of Medicine, 126-1, Anamdong 5-ga, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul 136-705, Korea. Email:


Background and Aim:  We investigated long-term outcomes and prognostic factors in patients with hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related liver cirrhosis in the era of oral nucleos(t)ide analog antiviral agents.

Methods:  Between January 1999 and February 2009, a total of 240 consecutive patients who had HBV-related cirrhosis without malignancy were treated with lamivudine and second line nucleos(t)ide analogs. The group of historical controls consisted of 481 consecutive patients with HBV-related cirrhosis who were managed without any antiviral treatment prior to 1999.

Results:  In 78% of the patients who received antiviral treatment, sustained viral suppression (serum HBV DNA < 105 copies/mL) was achieved during a mean follow-up period of 46 months. The occurrences of death, hepatic decompensation, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) were less frequent in the treated cohort than in untreated historical controls, with the 5-year cumulative incidences being 19.4% versus 43.9% (log-rank P < 0.001), 15.4% versus 45.4% (P = 0.001), and 13.8% versus 23.4% (P = 0.074), respectively. For patients who received antiviral treatment, suboptimal viral suppression (HBV DNA > 105 copies/mL at last follow-up) was an important independent risk factor of death (P < 0.001) and hepatic decompensation (P = 0.019), and was linked to an increased risk of HCC (P = 0.042). Although the Child–Pugh grade remained a useful prognostic factor, no significant differences were found between patients with Child–Pugh grade B and C cirrhosis at the beginning of antiviral treatment (P = 0.656).

Conclusions:  Oral antiviral agents have improved the prognosis of patients with HBV-related cirrhosis and affected the prognostic values of factors constituting the Child–Pugh system, necessitating a more efficient prognostic system.