Sequential therapy with entecavir and PEG-INF in patients affected by chronic hepatitis B and high levels of HBV-DNA with non-D genotypes


Correspondence: Antonio D'Avolio, BSc, MSc, SM, Department of Infectious Diseases, Amedeo di Savoia Hospital, University of Turin, Turin, Italy. E-mail:


Complete eradication of hepatitis B virus (HBV) is rarely achieved. Treatment options include currently available nucleos(t)ide analogues and pegylated interferon. The aim of our exploratory study was to assess the effectiveness of sequential therapy for chronic hepatitis B (CHB) vs the current standard of care. We evaluated an association with entecavir and pegylated interferon alfa-2a (PEG-IFN) in 20 patients with hepatitis B, high HBV viremia and genotypes A, B, C and E. Patients received entecavir alone for 12 weeks, then entecavir and PEG-IFN for 12 weeks, lastly PEG-IFN alone for 36 weeks. The results were compared with 20 patients (control group) treated in the past with 48 weeks of PEG-IFN monotherapy. Our results show that complete sustained virological response (SVR) and partial SVR were, respectively, 60% and 80% in the study group and 10% and 30% in the control group; anti-HBe seroconversion rate were 76.9% vs 15%, and anti-HBs seroconversion were 20% vs 0%, respectively. We found a correlation among different genotypes and virological and serological outcomes – genotype C has a better virological response, while genotype A had a better serological response, and E genotype had a poor response. These results show that a sequential approach is a promising strategy of treatment in patients with CHB and high viremia in comparison with PEG-IFN monotherapy. The E genotype seems to have the worse rate of response and requires other treatment strategies.