OBJECTIVES: Antiviral therapy leads to HBeAg seroconversion in 10-40% of the patients with HBeAg-positive chronic hepatitis B. Nonresponse may result in progression of liver disease and increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma. As part of a global randomized controlled trial we investigated the efficacy (i.e., loss of HBeAg at the end of follow-up) of peginterferon alfa-2b (Peg-IFN α2b) in patients who failed to respond to previous courses of standard interferon (IFN) or lamivudine. METHODS: We analyzed a total of 76 previous nonresponders: 37 were nonresponders to standard IFN, 17 were nonresponders to lamivudine, and 22 were nonresponders to both therapies. All patients received a 52-wks course of 100 μg Peg-IFN α2b weekly combined with either 100 mg lamivudine daily or a placebo. After therapy patients were followed for 26 wks. RESULTS: Thirteen (35%) nonresponders to previous IFN, five (29%) nonresponders to previous lamivudine, and four (22%) nonresponders to both IFN and lamivudine responded to treatment with Peg-IFN α2b. No difference in response was found for those treated with Peg-IFN α2b alone or in combination with lamivudine. Nonresponders to prior IFN therapy with baseline ALT (alanine aminotransferase) > 4 × ULN (upper limit of normal) responded better to Peg-IFN α2b than those with ALT levels ≤ 4 × ULN (53% vs 20%, respectively, p = 0.036). CONCLUSIONS: Peg-IFN α2b is effective in approximately one-third of patients who failed to respond to previous treatment with standard IFN or lamivudine. High serum ALT level at baseline of Peg-IFN α2b therapy was the best predictor for response in these patients.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1572-0241.2006.00812.x, hdl.handle.net/1765/57113
Journal American Journal of Gastroenterology
Flink, H.J, Hansen, B.E, Heathcote, E.J, Feinman, S.V, Simsek, H, Karayalcin, S, … Janssen, H.L.A. (2006). Successful treatment with peginterferon alfa-2b of HBeAg-positive HBV non-responders to standard interferon or lamivudine. American Journal of Gastroenterology, 101(11), 2523–2529. doi:10.1111/j.1572-0241.2006.00812.x