OBJECTIVE: Peginterferon (PEG-IFN) is considered as a first-line treatment option for hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-negative chronic hepatitis B. We aimed to evaluate the long-term response to PEG-IFN in HBeAg-negative patients. METHODS: All patients enrolled in the PARC study who completed the treatment phase were eligible for this long-term follow-up (LTFU) study. Patients received PEG-IFN α-2a (180 μg weekly)±ribavirin (1000-1200 mg daily) for 48 weeks and had at least one additional LTFU visit after the initial follow-up period of 24 weeks (mean duration 2.1±0.2 years). Retreated patients were considered nonresponders. RESULTS: Of 117 patients who completed the treatment phase, 79 (68%) were included in this LTFU study. Among 19 patients with a combined response at 24 weeks after treatment [initial responders; hepatitis B virus DNA<10 000 copies/ml (<1714 IU/ml) and normal alanine aminotransferase], 12 (63%) sustained this response through LTFU. Three additional patients showed such a response at LTFU, resulting in a total of 15 (19%) combined responders at LTFU. A marked decrease in the serum hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) levels was observed in initial responders, resulting in HBsAg clearance in 26% of the patients (6% of all LTFU participants). CONCLUSION: About one-third of HBeAg-negative patients with a response to PEG-IFN at 24 weeks after treatment subsequently had a relapse during 2 years of follow-up. Despite the limited overall efficacy of PEG-IFN, patients responding to PEG-IFN treatment showed a marked decrease in serum HBsAg, resulting in a high rate of HBsAg clearance, which indicates the need for predictors of response to PEG-IFN in HBeAg-negative disease.

Additional Metadata
Keywords hepatitis B virus therapy, immunomodulator, nucleos(t)ide analogues, quantitative hepatitis B surface antigen
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1097/MEG.0b013e3283557e23, hdl.handle.net/1765/39042
Journal European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Rijckborst, V, Ferenci, P, Akdogan, M, Pinarbasi, B, ter Borg, M.J, Simon, K, … Janssen, H.L.A. (2012). Long-term follow-up of hepatitis B e antigen-negative patients treated with peginterferon α-2a: Progressive decrease in hepatitis B surface antigen in responders. European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 24(9), 1012–1019. doi:10.1097/MEG.0b013e3283557e23