Background: Management of lamivudine-resistant chronic hepatitis B (CHB) remains challenging, as inappropriate choice of treatment may cause multidrug resistance. Until now, randomized trials directly comparing adding adefovir and switching to entecavir monotherapy have not been reported. Aims: This multicentre prospective randomized study was designed to compare the efficacy of these two strategies. Methods: Two hundred and nineteen lamivudine-resistant CHB patients were randomized to either adefovir-lamivudine combination group or entecavir monotherapy group (n = 110 vs. 109), and followed up for 24 months. Results: One hundred and eighty patients completed this study. At month 24, virological response rate [hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA <60 IU/ml] was higher in the adefovir-lamivudine combination group compared with entecavir group (56.7% vs. 40%, P = 0.025), although biochemical and serological response rates were not significantly different. Genotypic resistance (9.2% vs. 24.6%, P = 0.005) and combined viral breakthrough (2.0% vs. 17.6%, P < 0.001) were more frequent in the entecavir group. However, by subgroup analysis, virological response rates were not significantly different between the two therapies in HBeAg-positive patients (44.9% vs. 35.7%, P = 0.268) or in patients with high baseline HBV DNA (≥7 log IU/ml) (40.7% vs. 31.3%, P = 0.320) at month 24. Conclusion: This study showed that adefovir-lamivudine combination provides significantly higher antiviral efficacy and the lower resistance rate compared with the entecavir monotherapy in the management of lamivudine-resistant CHB. However, it had limited efficacy in HBeAg-positive patients or in patients with high baseline HBV DNA.
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