It is well appreciated that ethnicity influences the natural history and immune responses during a chronic hepatitis B infection. In this study, we explore the effect of ethnicity and treatment cessation on Hepatitis B surface Antigen (HBsAg) seroclearance in patients with Nucleos(t)ide Analogue (NA)-induced Hepatitis B e Antigen (HBeAg) seroconversion. We performed a multi-ethnic, multicentric observational cohort study. The analyzed cohort consisted of 178 mono-infected, predominantly male (75.3%) chronic hepatitis B patients of mixed ethnicity (44.4% Asians, 48.9% Caucasians) with nucleos(t)ide analogue-induced HBeAg seroconversion. Treatment was withdrawn in 105 patients and continued in 73, leading to HBsAg loss in 14 patients off- and 16 patients on-treatment, respectively. Overall, HBsAg loss rates were not affected by treatment cessation (hazard ratio 1.45, p = 0.372), regardless of consolidation treatment duration. Caucasian ethnicity was associated with an increased chance of HBsAg loss (hazard ratio 6.70, p = 0.001), but hepatitis B virus genotype was not (p = 0.812). In conclusion, ethnicity is the most important determinant for HBsAg loss after NA-induced HBeAg seroconversion, with up to six-fold higher HBsAg loss rates in Caucasians compared to Asians, irrespective of treatment cessation and consolidation treatment duration.

Additional Metadata
Keywords chronic hepatitis B, ethnicity, HBsAg seroclearance, treatment cessation
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.3390/v11080687, hdl.handle.net/1765/119042
Journal Viruses
Citation
Hees, S.V. (Stijn Van), Chi, H, Hansen, B.E, Bourgeois, S, Vlierberghe, H.V. (Hans Van), Sersté, T, … Vanwolleghem, T. (2019). Caucasian Ethnicity, but Not Treatment Cessation is Associated with HBsAg Loss Following Nucleos(t)ide Analogue-Induced HBeAg Seroconversion. Viruses, 11(8). doi:10.3390/v11080687