OBJECTIVES:Treatment with pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) α-2b results in hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) loss in 36% of patients at 6 months post treatment. The aim of this study was to determine whether a long-term response to PEG-IFN is dependent on the timing of HBeAg loss.METHODS:A total of 91 patients treated with PEG-IFN α-2b alone (100 g per week) and 81 patients treated with PEG-IFN α-2b and lamivudine (100 mg/day) for 52 weeks were enrolled in this study. Patients were initially followed up at 4-week intervals and had one additional long-term follow-up (LTFU) visit (mean: 3.030.77 years 26 weeks post treatment).RESULTS:Of the 172 patients included, 78 patients (46%) did not have loss of HBeAg, 47 (27%) lost HBeAg within 32 weeks, and 47 patients (27%) had loss of HBeAg after week 32. At LTFU, patients with HBeAg loss32 weeks had hepatitis B virus DNA of 400 copies/ml significantly more often than did those who lost HBeAg after week 32 (47 vs. 21%, respectively; P0.009). Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) negativity was also observed significantly more often in patients with early HBeAg loss (36 vs. 4%, respectively, P0.001). Early HBeAg loss tended to occur more often in patients treated with PEG-IFN and lamivudine combination therapy than in those treated with PEG-IFN alone (35 vs. 21%; P0.10), as did HBsAg loss (15 vs. 8%; P0.14).CONCLUSIONS:Early PEG-IFN-induced HBeAg loss results in a high likelihood of HBsAg loss and may be associated with more profound viral suppression during the first 32 weeks of therapy in patients treated with lamivudine combinations.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1038/ajg.2009.371, hdl.handle.net/1765/24543
Journal American Journal of Gastroenterology
Buster, E.H.C.J, Flink, H.J, Simsek, H, Heathcote, E.J, Sharmila, S, Kitis, G.E, … Janssen, H.L.A. (2009). Early hbeag loss during peginterferon α-2b therapy predicts HBsAg loss: Results of a long-term follow-up study in chronic hepatitis B patients. American Journal of Gastroenterology, 104(10), 2449–2457. doi:10.1038/ajg.2009.371